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Frequent heartburn symptoms include a strong sensation of a burning feeling in the chest, an unpleasant acidic taste in the mouth, and chest pain that becomes worse upon reclining. Heartburn may also cause nausea due to the stomach acid moving through the upper body.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid leaks out into the esophagus and causes irritation and pain. This disorder can be ongoing or sporadic.
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Causes of Heartburn
Heartburn incidence may be linked to: smoking, fatty food, excessive food intake, soda, chocolate, drinking alcohol, onions, chili, tomatoes, citrus, and obesity. Pregnancy may also increase the incidence of heartburn.
Rarely, a hiatal hernia may be a cause of heartburn. This type of hernia may be a physical defect that is present at birth.
Heartburn is also common during pregnancy. As hormone levels increase during pregnancy, the esophagus may relax and acid reflux and heartburn may occur more frequently.
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Diagnosis of Heartburn
To diagnose heartburn, tests include: barium x-ray and endoscopy. A doctor will also ask questions about the severity and frequency of heartburn.
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Treatment of Heartburn
There are multiple things you can do to treat heartburn, such as:
- add yogurt to the diet
- limit alcohol intake, avoid large meals when feeling very stressed
- eat the last meal of the day at least 2-3 hours before sleep
- maintain a healthy weight
- avoid spicy foods
- stop smoking
- avoid full-fat dairy products
- avoid tomatoes and other acidic foods
- add more exercise to the day, especially after the dinner meal
Antacid tablets may also be helpful in treating heartburn. Speak to your doctor to get advice about how to use this product and if any other medical treatment is needed for heartburn.
Also, work to reduce stress. Activities such as meditation, yoga, and walking may help lessen stress and calm the body and mind. Any kind of exercise is good for overall health. Exercise also helps to move food along through the digestive system and may limit the reflux of acid into the esophagus.
Dress in loose clothing to aid relaxation and to ensure that the digestive system is allowed to work normally.
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Call 911 if Symptoms are Severe
Sometimes heartburn may be confused with the symptoms of a heart attack. If there is a feeling of pressure on the chest or of crushing pain in the chest area call 911 immediately. If blood appears in the vomit, it is another sign 911 must be called immediately.
Do not wait until morning or until the pain goes away if the symptoms are severe. Call 911 and get medical attention immediately. It is best to be safe rather than sorry; so call 911 if you have thoughts you may be having a heart attack.
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