What is heartburn?
To answer this question, think about have you ever felt a burning sensation in the stomach where you were given some medicine for acidity and after taking it, suddenly you are feeling better? This feeling of burning pain or sensation, which comes due to acids refluxing back into the esophageal region, is called heartburn.
Heartburn has multiple different symptoms. But it could vary from one person to another. For example, one person could show one symptom whereas another person could show another symptom. But there are few common symptoms which are:
- Stomach pain and burning sensation in the upper abdomen. This is what makes this reflux of acidity in heartburn. This burning sensation occurs due to these acids refluxing back into the esophageal region from the stomach
- There is also difficulty in swallowing when the person is suffering from GERD.
- The foods or liquids often regurgitate which shouldn’t occur. Since the acid also does regurgitate, the taste of acids is also often realized.
- A persistent sore throat is another symptom of heartburn.
- A chronic cough is also seen in many cases when the person is having heartburn.
The difficulty with heartburn is that many other diseases have also similar symptoms with that o heartburn. Hence without proper evaluation, it is difficult to tell whether the underlying disease is heartburn or something else.
Foods that may aggravate heartburn
There are foods which may aggravate the symptoms of the heartburn and hence, you should never consume these foods if you are having acidity.
- Alcohol does cause heartburn. It generally relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and hence more and more acidic juice come into the esophageal region from the stomach. The more the acids that are returning back from the stomach, the severe the heartburn will be.
- Orange juice is also known to cause acidity in many people. If you are having frequent acidity problem, then you should avoid taking orange juice as a drink.
- Fatty foods, acidic foods also known to cause heartburn. These foods you should avoid a much as possible while you are having frequent episodes of acidity.
There are various tests which could diagnose the heartburn. Among them, the following three tests are pretty common and is advised the patients to undergo when there is suspected heartburn.
Flexible scope is passed down into the food pipe and then examined the structure of the wall and other aspects.
2 Upper GI series
A special type of x-ray is taken where a liquid is also used while taking the x-ray.
3 Ambulatory pH testing
So, how to treat heartburn? The primary medicine for mild heartburn is antacids, but if it goes severe, then proton pump inhibitors are used which does efficient work in this regard. But long-term PPI use has its own undesirable effects and hence, it should be taken very carefully.
There are diets via which you can lower the frequency of the heartburn. RefluxMD lists many such diet recipes which you could employ.