Heartburn refers to a burning sensation which many people experience just beneath their breastbone. They have this discomfort after consuming their meals in the evening or lying in bed. Some of them even complain about having this condition after eating certain food items and drinks. These include onions, saturated fats, citrus fruits, chocolates, tomatoes, spicy meals, peppermints, coffee, alcoholic beverages. Having heartburn occasionally is natural and should not be cause for concern for most people. They can get rid of it by changing their lifestyle or taking over-the-counter medicines. However, they should immediately inform their doctors if it severely affects their daily routine.
Dr. Mark Swaim – What the causes of heartburn?
Dr. Mark Swaim is a popular doctor from Jackson, Tennessee, with a wealth of experience spanning 30 years. He is a medical graduate from the renowned Duke University School of Medicine. He completed his residency from Duke University Medical Center. His area of expertise is in hepatology and gastroenterology. He is affiliated with two of the most important hospitals in the county of Jackson. These are Regional Hospital of Jackson and Trans South Health Care PC.
He says people usually suffer from heartburn on account of the following reasons:
- The contents of their stomach move up the esophagus because the cardiac sphincterdoes not work correctly,
- They have a condition called reflux where acids in their stomach affect the functioning of the esophagus,
- They experience a hiatal hernia where their stomach pushes its content into the chest via the diaphragm, and
- Pregnant women experience heartburn when changes in the progesterone hormone affect the working of the esophagus.
Characteristics symptoms of heartburn condition
He explains that people who suffer from heartburn have the following common symptoms:
- A burning indigestion-like sensation in the region of their chest after having their evening meals,
- The sensation becomes worse when they lie down or turn over in bed after meals, and
- Their mouths have an unpleasant acidic taste, which ruins their appetite.
Diagnosis and treatment
He clarifies people often come to doctors complaining that heartburn is affecting their daily lives. They refer to this condition as gastroesophageal reflux disease. They conduct a medical check of these people to assess the situation of their stomachs. In doing so, they might recommend an x-ray, endoscopy procedure, or esophageal motility testing for them. The objective of the doctors is to look for abnormalities in the functioning of the esophagus. Based on their diagnosis, doctors might prescribe to them:
- Over-the-counter antacids to provide relief from burning sensation by neutralizing the stomach acids, and
- H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) to minimize stomach acids when antacids are ineffective.
Dr. Mark Swaim sums up by saying heartburn affects people of all ages. It is a burning indigestion-like sensation they experience in the chest, and their mouths regularly have an acidic taste.
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They can overcome it by changing their lifestyle and take over-the-counter medicines. However, if these remedies do not work, they should immediately see their doctors. They might be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease. After diagnosing the severity of their symptoms, doctors might prescribe either antacids or H-2-receptor antagonists to cure the problem.