Heartburn

We can all get heartburn from time to time. Heartburn can also be called Pyrosis or Acid Indigestion. Heartburn is defined as the uncomfortable burning sensation in your throat or chest. It occurs when there is a backup of acid into your esophagus. If you experience heartburn more that two times a week, then you may have a condition called gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD). When you have GERD, your muscles that are located at the end of the esophagus will not shut all the way. This will allow acid to flow into your esophagus and cause irritation.

Alcohol, certain foods, and pregnancy can cause a person to have heartburn. When heartburn strikes, it is very important to treat it right away because if left untreated there could be damage to your esophagus. Usually over the counter medicine will help, if not you may need to see a doctor or even have surgery.

If you begin to experience crushing chest pains, you could be having a heart attack and should seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms
A person who has experienced heartburn may have one or all of the following symptoms:
* A burning feeling in their chest
* A burning sensation in their throat
* A bitter or even sour taste inside their mouth.
* Hard time swallowing
* Coughing
* Asthma like symptoms such as wheezing.

Treatments
Antacids will give you fast and quick relief from heartburn. The work by neutralizing the stomach acid. These are sold over the counter which means you do not need a prescription to purchase it.

H2 blockers work by reducing the amount of stomach acid that is produced. These do not work as quickly as antacids, but they do work for a longer period of time. You can get these over the counter.

Proton Pump inhibitors
These will reduce the amount of acid that your stomach produces. They work great for heartburn that has not gone away with the use of antacids or H2 blockers. These will not work as fast as the H2 blockers, but they last for a lot longer. These are most often given to the people that experience frequent heartburn.

Side effects for the above treatments include:
* Nausea
* Headaches
* Constipation
* Diarrhea

People who have kidney disease should not take acid reducing medication. If you currently are taking any other medication, you should talk to your doctor to see if any of them will be affected by the heartburn treatment. If you experience severe chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, pain in your arms you could be having a heart attack. You should seek help right away by calling 911, or going straight into the emergency room.

You should talk to your doctor before your start taking an antacid if you have the following symptoms:
* Black or bloody stool
* Blood in your vomit
* Heartburn that persist after two weeks of starting any treatment
* Hard time swallowing
* Sudden weight loss

Prevention
* Limit foods that are more likely to give you heartburn such as fatty or spicy foods.
* Control how much you eat
* Stay away from caffeine and carbonated beverages and alcohol
* Keep yourself hydrated with water or a light sports drink such as Gatorade.

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