Heartburn FAQs: Treatment, Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

Symptoms depend on what organs are affected by the stomach acid. Not everyone with acid reflux will have the same symptoms. “Indigestion (Dyspepsia).” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/indigestion-dyspepsia.

Symptoms usually get worse when you’re stressed but normally go away in a few hours. Experts agree that it is not enough merely to squelch the symptoms of heartburn. Rather, acid reflux must be prevented and any cellular damage that has occurred must be healed.

It was pointed out earlier that acid indigestion and GERD/heartburn are separate digestive disorders. If you are uncertain as to whether you are suffering from either acid indigestion or GERD/heartburn and the condition is persistent, it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare practitioner.

Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, is the most frequent cause of indigestion in the UK. There’s nothing you need to avoid specifically because you’re taking ranitidine, but if there are foods or drinks that make your indigestion, heartburn or ulcer symptoms worse then clearly it’s best to avoid these. However, if you’ve been prescribed ranitidine to treat a peptic ulcer or reflux oesophagitis, it may take a few weeks of treatment before these conditions heal. Some conditions may require you to take ranitidine on a long-term basis, either to keep symptoms under control or to avoid the condition coming back.

And in most cases, if any treatment was needed, an over-the-counter antacid took care of the temporary discomfort. Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Cleveland Clinic website.

The most common adverse effects (AEs) include headache, dizziness, diarrhea, drowsiness, and constipation. Potential drug-drug interactions (DDIs) for cimetidine include theophylline, antidepressants/antianxiety agents, phenytoin, and warfarin. Because many patients elect to self-treat mild to moderate cases of heartburn and dyspepsia, pharmacists are likely to encounter patients seeking advice on the various nonprescription products available for the prevention and treatment of both conditions. Pharmacists also are instrumental in identifying patients at increased risk for developing heartburn and dyspepsia because of certain medications, medical conditions, or lifestyle habits.

Since indigestion and lactose intolerance both are common, the two conditions may coexist. In this situation, restricting lactose will improve the symptoms of lactose intolerance, but will not affect the symptoms of indigestion.

In the past, some physicians would have diagnosed peptic ulcer disease in a patient complaining of upper middle abdominal (epigastric) pain and nausea. Now, using such investigative tools as detailed barium X-rays or gastroscopy, physicians can quickly rule out an ulcer diagnosis. In fact, twice as many tested will not have an ulcer as will have one in this grouping of dyspeptic people. A bit like being overweight, tight clothes add unwanted pressure to your stomach and therefore will increase acid reflux.

PPIs work by blocking an enzyme necessary for acid secretion and have the best effect when taken on an empty stomach, a half-hour to one hour before the first meal of the day. PPIs include omeprazole (Losec®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), pantoprazole sodium (Pantoloc®), esomeprazole (Nexium®), rabeprazole (Pariet®), and pantoprazole magnesium (Tecta®). Dual delayed release PPI capsules, in the form of dexlansoprazole (Dexilant®), deliver the medication at two intervals.

Inside Diseases & Conditions:

Cut your daily coffee consumption in half to see if that helps reduce your symptoms. People with a greater sensitivity to the acid and caffeine content of coffee may need to avoid the beverage. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, indigestion commonly occurs among adults, sometimes on a daily basis. Most healthy adults experience indigestion on occasion, especially after overeating or eating spicy or highly acidic foods. Indigestion causes the feeling of fullness as you eat a meal, or the burning or pain that occurs in the upper portion of your abdomen.

The operation is relatively simple and is called fundoplication. Its purpose is to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. The stomach is tied in such a way as to prevent acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. This surgery is successful for more than 85% of people.

indigestion daily basis
indigestion daily basis

You may experience this if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Dysphagia may occur occasionally or on a more regular basis. The frequency depends on the severity of your reflux and your treatment.

For neutralizing acid, over-the-counter medications such as Maalox®, Tums®, and Pepto-Bismol® may subdue symptoms. Another product, Gaviscon®, neutralizes stomach acid and forms a barrier to block acid rising into the esophagus. Some find that these non-prescription antacids provide quick, temporary, or partial relief but they do not prevent heartburn. Consult your physician if you are using antacids for more than three weeks.

It may be chronic or persistent, and symptoms frequently change. We discuss ways to manage IBS, as there is no cure. We also explore the impact of diet and stress. Learn more about IBS here.

Your doctor may perform a breath, stool or blood test for this and if necessary, give you a one-week course of treatment with three different tablets to get rid of it. This doesn’t always work and it involves taking several tablets a day and often having to avoid even a sip of alcohol for a week, but it can greatly reduce the chance of symptoms returning. Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an ulcer or occasionally cancer, anyone experiencing the following symptoms in addition to indigestion should consult with their doctor. If prescription drugs are not relieving heartburn, or if a person has serious complications of heartburn, surgery may be necessary.

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