Hanging upside down can help acid reflux

Heartburn: causes, symptoms, and treatment

If the pain piles up like a wave, then subsides and the esophagus burns from bottom to top, it is usually heartburn. The annoying complaints are widespread and can be traced back to various triggers.
Reflux diseases are at the heart of finding the cause. There are also other diseases that can promote heartburn. Constant heartburn should definitely be clarified.
Therapy approaches focus on adapting to everyday life. Over-the-counter drugs from the pharmacy or prescription drugs can be used as support. A balanced intestinal flora should always be considered in heartburn.

The essentials in brief:

Heartburn is particularly noticeable after eating large, sweet, fatty or sour foods and can be associated with a feeling of pressure, nausea, hoarseness and stomach pain.

Impairment of the function of the corresponding sphincter muscle or incorrect colonization of the intestinal flora can promote heartburn.

Medications, such as acid blockers, can provide short-term relief. However, symptoms often come back after discontinuation.

In addition to treating the underlying cause, lifestyle changes also make sense.

Proven heartburn home remedies include baking soda, milk and healing earth.

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What is heartburn?

Heartburn, also known as pyrosis, is a burning pain that occurs behind the sternum. The symptoms can spread up to the chest and throat. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid rises (med .: reflux) and irritates the lining of the esophagus. Not always, but often heartburn is associated with acid regurgitation.
People who suffer from heartburn may not always be able to correctly interpret the symptoms. Pyrosis can cause severe pain behind the sternum and can therefore be mistaken for heart attack symptoms. Heartburn, even at night, is like a chameleon, it can manifest itself in very different ways. Therefore, the following question is particularly exciting: "How does heartburn feel?"

Heartburn: symptoms

Heartburn is very uncomfortable for those affected. However, the symptoms are not the same for everyone. While some feel pain behind the sternum, others describe it as more like a burning sensation. In addition, a feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen can occur. It is not uncommon for acid eructations to be added. But belching without acid is also possible.
The stomach acid can flow into the throat and mouth. This can result in a cough or a sore throat. Heartburn and nausea can also occur together. In the case of heartburn, the symptoms are quite individual. For this reason, it is important to clarify the complaints thoroughly. If heartburn occurs more often, it is referred to as reflux disease (gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD).

Heartburn: causes

If too much stomach acid is produced in the stomach, heartburn is practically foreseeable. The reason: the rising stomach acid can irritate the mucous membrane of the esophagus unhindered. The typical heartburn symptoms are the result. But not only the symptoms, but also the causes of heartburn are varied. However, there are a few suspects who are particularly often associated with the unpleasant complaints. Above all lifestyle habits and the reflux disease.

1. Habits

Very often everyday habits are in the foreground when it comes to heartburn and causes. In fact, there are behaviors that favor symptoms. Fatty, luscious, sweet or sour meals can literally overflow the barrel. Many sufferers report that a sudden increase in pressure in the abdomen (coughing, stooping, lifting a heavy load) encourages stomach contents to flow back up the esophagus and causes heartburn. Luxury foods are also frequent causes of heartburn. Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and tobacco use can fuel the problems. In addition to consumer goods, the state of the soul is also a decisive factor. A hectic everyday life can lead to stress, nervousness and emotional distress, which makes the development of heartburn easier. The stomach needs space. Being overweight and wearing tight clothing can put pressure on the stomach and cause stomach acid to rise up the esophagus.1

2. Malfunction

The esophageal mouth, or upper esophageal sphincter, is the narrowest part of the esophagus and is located between the esophagus and the stomach. If there is a dysfunction of this sphincter muscle, a so-called (gastroesophageal) reflux disease can develop. 10–20% of the western population suffer from it. Normally, the esophageal sphincter has an important role to play in preventing the contents of the stomach from rising up the esophagus. But he does not always fulfill his role as gatekeeper. It is often impossible to determine why he is neglecting his task. However, it is certain that there are certain factors that favor reflux, i.e. the reflux of gastric acid. Alcohol and nicotine have a relaxing effect on the sphincter. In a deeply relaxed atmosphere, it no longer closes as tightly as it should. In addition, the luxury foods can stimulate stomach acid production, which also makes heartburn more likely.2,3

3. Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy is not uncommon. In fact, “heartburn and pregnancy” tips are very popular. The explanation for this is simple. During pregnancy there is an increase in pressure in the abdomen. This makes heartburn particularly likely in advanced pregnancy.

4. Medicines

Heartburn can also be a side effect of some medications.4 Active ingredients that widen the blood vessels and reduce the tension in the muscles can lead to a relaxation of the esophageal sphincter (the transition between the stomach and the esophagus). This can cause stomach acid to rise up the esophagus and cause heartburn. Cardiovascular drugs, asthma drugs and selected psychotropic drugs, such as neuroleptics, should also be mentioned. These drugs can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and thus heartburn.
Special drugs that are taken for rheumatism and pain can also stimulate acid production in the stomach. Common substances such as ibuprofen or diclofenac are therefore also suspected in heartburn.
Antibiotics (especially tetracyclines) can also cause the uncomfortable burning sensation behind the breastbone. By the way: Many drugs can impair the intestinal flora and trigger heartburn in this way.

5. Diseases

There are a number of diseases that can be blamed for heartburn. In some cases, however, they are also a consequence of severe heartburn tormenting those affected.

The most common conditions that cause heartburn include:

Diaphragmatic hernia:
If there is a hole in the diaphragm, part of the stomach can become dislodged. As a result, it becomes narrowed, which allows the contents of the stomach to be forced up into the esophagus.

Diabetes:
Diabetes can negatively affect nerve control in the esophagus. Then it is no longer possible to transport the porridge as usual. Heartburn can result.

Irritable stomach:
In addition to irritable bowel syndrome, an irritable stomach can also torment those affected. Various upper abdominal complaints occur. Among other things, pain, feeling of pressure, nausea, vomiting and heartburn.

Inflammation of the gastric mucosa:
Gastritis is often protracted. It is triggered by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium or by irritating substances such as alcohol or nicotine. Stress can also lead to inflammation of the stomach lining. This makes pain, loss of appetite or heartburn noticeable.

Esophagitis:
The so-called esophagitis is a special case because it can both trigger heartburn and be a consequence of the symptoms. The sensitive mucous membrane in the esophagus can be affected by foreign bodies or bacteria.

Esophageal diverticulum:
Corresponding diverticula are protuberances in the wall of the esophagus. They can be associated with stomach regurgitation and heartburn.

Achalasia:
The disease is rare but can cause significant symptoms. Since the muscles of the esophagus wall are less able to contract, the food can no longer be transported properly and the sphincter muscle at the stomach entrance can only partially do its job. The fact that the food does not reach the stomach properly can lead to belching and heartburn.

6. Overacidity (hyperacidity)

Acidification occurs when the stomach produces too much acid, which can then go up into the esophagus. Acidification also leads to symptoms such as heartburn in gastroesophageal reflux disease (abbr .: GERD).

Constant heartburn: watch out for complications!

Heartburn is often taken lightly. After all, it is a common disease that many have come into contact with. However, frequent, chronic, regular heartburn can also be a symptom of a serious illness or have serious consequences. For example, it can lead to esophagitis, which, if left untreated, leads to ulcers and scarring.
The development of Barrett's esophagus cannot be ruled out and is considered a precancerous stage due to the tissue changes. This increases the risk of developing cancer.5
Anyone who regularly suffers from the symptoms should therefore not only rely on home remedies for heartburn, but rather get to the bottom of the cause and have a doctor examine them.

Heartburn: when to see a doctor?

Constant heartburn can be an uncomfortable experience, so sufferers are quick to seek relief. If symptoms are severe or occur more than twice a week, it is best to see a doctor. Persistent pain is also a case for the doctor. For example, he can find out if you have reflux disease.
However, if the causes of heartburn can be identified quickly (e.g. through poor diet) and can be easily remedied, a visit to the doctor is not necessary. Here it is enough to make changes in everyday life and to rely on gentle remedies for heartburn.

Good to know!
Heartburn is very common in people with reflux disease. An irritating cough associated with this, a thick voice, hoarseness and an unpleasant taste in the mouth can indicate the disease.

Heartburn: diagnosis by a doctor

At the beginning of the diagnosis there is always a doctor-patient conversation, also known as anamnesis. The doctor can get to the bottom of the complaints with specific questions.
The following questions can arise:

  • How long has heartburn started?
  • How often are the symptoms noticeable?
  • Do the symptoms increase when you are lying down?
  • Are you experiencing other symptoms such as stomach pain or nausea?
  • Do you experience pain depending on meals?
  • Do stress or medication play a role?
  • Do you have any underlying illnesses such as diabetes or being very overweight?
  • What is the diet like?

The doctor has already collected important information about heartburn in the patient. If it is clear that the disease is a reflux disease and is not accompanied by any complications, drug treatment can be initiated.
If there are accompanying symptoms such as painful swallowing, repeated vomiting and anemia, further clarification is highly recommended. Further examinations can diagnose constrictions in the esophagus, ulcers and serious pre-cancerous stages. The following tests are often done for heartburn:

Stomach mirroring:
To get a view of the esophagus and stomach, the doctor may insert an endoscope into the esophagus through the mouth. Tiny cameras attached to the instrument allow an assessment of the esophagus and stomach. In this way, ulcers, inflammations and constrictions can be identified. It is also possible to take a tissue sample during an endoscopy.

Esophageal pressure measurement:
Health professionals can use esophageal manometry to measure pressure in the esophagus. To do this, a probe equipped with pressure sensors is inserted into the esophagus. The patient gradually drinks water while slowly withdrawing the probe. In this way it is possible to assess the functionality of the esophageal muscles.

24 hour pH metry:
Here, too, a probe is used. This time it is pushed into the esophagus through the nose. It is positioned directly in front of the stomach entrance and remains there for 24 hours. During this period, she regularly measures the acidity in the lower part of the esophagus. The doctor can then later assess the acid reflux.

24-hour pH-metry-MII:
This investigation is similar to the previous one. However, the reflux of non-acidic stomach contents can also be determined here. Sometimes that too can lead to the annoying discomfort.

Heartburn Treatment: What To Do For Heartburn?

Heartburn is often harmless. However, the bothersome symptoms can lead to complications. To prevent this, frequent heartburn should not only be clarified, but also treated. Various therapy options are available for this. The question: "What helps against heartburn" should always be answered individually. Ultimately, it plays a role whether heartburn can be traced back to special risk factors (pregnancy, illness, dysfunction) or whether it is caused by unfavorable living conditions. In general, regular heartburn should always be assessed by a doctor.

What helps against heartburn? Prescription and over-the-counter drugs

There are numerous home remedies, especially for heartburn. They do not always lead to the desired effect. Then the use of medication can make sense. Patients who turn to their doctor with the question: "What helps against severe heartburn" are often recommended so-called proton pump inhibitors or acid blockers. These are remedies for severe heartburn that lower the pH value in the stomach. Antacids, H2-receptor blockers (H2R-A) or prokinetics may also be indicated. However, these heartburn remedies should always be combined with changes in diet and behavior.6

What can be done against annoying heartburn? 4 remedies that promise relief

1. Proton pump inhibitors

One of the most commonly recommended heartburn medications is proton pump inhibitors for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other acid-related diseases.7 The so-called acid blockers are able to slow down an enzyme in the body in order to contribute to a reduction in gastric acid production. Studies show that proton pump inhibitors can help with heartburn. After all, according to studies, 45 out of 100 people can report that the symptoms of these heartburn tablets have significantly decreased. The acid blocking agents include:

If there are symptoms or inflammation in the esophagus due to a steady reflux of stomach acid, proton pump inhibitors can alleviate the symptoms. Apparently, in many cases, they do this better than H2 receptor blockers. But there is also a downer, because proton pump inhibitors can reach their limits when asked, "What helps with heartburn". There is evidence that, despite proton pump inhibitors, stomach acid can rise up the esophagus during the night.6

Good to know!
Acid blockers have long been considered well tolerated and harmless. Long-term use of acid blockers can cause more problems than solve them. When reflux patients stop taking proton pump blockers, acid production may be higher than before for a short time (hypergastrinaemia). This is known as the "rebound effect": the excess acidity increases heartburn symptoms for a short time after stopping the treatment. These rebound symptoms are why acid blockers can be addictive. Affected people have to endure more severe symptoms for some time after stopping.
>> Read more about proton pump inhibitors (risks, side effects and influence on the microbiome) here

2. Antacids

People with rare, mild heartburn from overeating or alcohol may benefit from antacids. These are agents that neutralize the acidic juice in the stomach and esophagus. However, according to studies, they do not seem particularly suitable for pronounced treatment cases. Rather, they are to be regarded as an alternative in the case of intolerance to conventional drugs.6

Good to know!
Antacids can be purchased from pharmacies without a prescription.

3. H2 receptor blockers (H2R-A)

H2-receptor blockers (H2R-A) have the task of preventing the binding of histamine in the stomach. In this way, a larger release of gastric juice is counteracted.8 H2-receptor blockers have been convincing in studies. They were able to reduce heartburn in 14 out of 100 patients.6 It is interesting for those affected that proton pump inhibitors can keep acid production under control much better. For this reason, H2 receptor blockers are used less often and mainly for minor complaints.9

Good to know!
Many H2-receptor blockers can be bought at the pharmacy without a prescription. However, a doctor's prescription is necessary for higher dosages.

4. Prokinetics

Prokinetics serve two purposes. For one, they are designed to reduce reflux into the esophagus. On the other hand, they are used to help emptying the stomach.10 However, since there are no valid studies on their effectiveness in reflux disease, prokinetics are not generally recommended.11

Good to know!
Prokinetics are prescription drugs. Corresponding drugs are therefore not available in pharmacies without a prescription.

Heartburn tablets: watch out for side effects

Proton pump inhibitors sound tempting to patients with severe heartburn. However, possible side effects should be considered. Heartburn and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain are quite possible. Difficulty swallowing and headaches cannot be ruled out either. Long-term use can increase the likelihood of fractures. It is also controversial whether such drugs contribute to intestinal infections or pneumonia. H2-receptor blockers can be associated with headaches or nausea.6

If unwanted bacteria are not killed by the reduced stomach acid, they can settle in the intestine and cause infections (e.g. Clostridium difficile infections). The changed pH value in the stomach can also have an influence on the intestinal flora (microbiota) and thus be the cause of dysbiosis (imbalance of the intestinal flora). Some research suggests that proton pump inhibitors increase the risk of heart attack and damage to the liver and kidneys.12

Heartburn What To Do The best tricks - easy and quick

About 20% of the population living in this country suffer repeatedly from reflux symptoms such as heartburn.13 What do those affected do about it? Some rely on medication. However, these often do not solve the problem permanently and should not be used long-term. After the heartburn medication has been stopped, the symptoms start again. A much more sustainable solution is an adapted diet for heartburn. There are also other tips that can be used to reduce the agonizing symptoms in the future.

Trick 1: The Heartburn Diet

Of course, diet plays a crucial role in uncomfortable heartburn. After all, in many cases it is what leads to the unpleasant symptoms in the first place. In general, anything that causes heartburn should be avoided. As a rule, these are very rich, fatty, sweet or sour foods. A heartburn flexi diet is particularly recommended here. This means that those affected leave out those foods that lead to "over-acidification". While some may experience heartburn especially after consuming sweets, others cannot tolerate late, hearty meals. To get an overview of the triggers, an individual food diary is useful. Meals and complaints can be recorded in it.

Trick 2: reduce pressure

The fact that being overweight can cause heartburn comes from the extra weight that puts pressure on the stomach. Anyone who suffers from heartburn and obesity has a good chance of getting rid of annoying esophageal complaints by losing weight with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Loose outer clothing should not be missing from the tips against heartburn. The stomach loves to be able to expand. Depending on how full it is, it needs space. Tight clothing that unnecessarily constricts the organ can make heartburn more likely. In the best case scenario, you should opt for flowing and loosely falling clothing.

Trick 3: reduce stress

Stress is the enemy of health. Although there is also stress experienced in a positive way, the so-called "eustress", usually only the stress that triggers negative effects in the body is noticeable. The effects of stress can also include heartburn. Then it is important to slow down everyday life. Regular breaks and time for relaxation should definitely be planned. It is best to mark a fixed day in the calendar for this. Relaxation exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation or yoga can also help you breathe deeply.

Trick 4: Refrain from luxury foods

Even if it sounds difficult at first, not using luxury foods can provide a decisive answer to the question: "What to do with heartburn". As mentioned earlier, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks can overflow the barrel. The result: stomach acid that rises into the esophagus and can cause serious problems. It helps many sufferers to turn to alternative employment instead. Although humans are creatures of habit, that does not mean that they cannot change their everyday life. Morning coffee could be replaced with a heartburn tea, for example.

Trick 5: Home Remedies for Heartburn

Many sufferers ask themselves the question: "What to do if you have severe heartburn?" There are actually some heartburn home remedies that can help with this question. After all, they are usually very well tolerated and also inexpensive. There are many recommendations:

  • Baking soda for heartburn
  • Heartburn milk
  • Healing earth for heartburn

Heartburn: baking soda

Heartburn home remedies that help acutely, i.e. as quickly as possible, are particularly in demand. In many places, baking soda is recommended for heartburn. Baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) is best known as a raising agent use. Baking soda helps against heartburn, as it neutralizes stomach acid and has a relatively quick onset effect.
Danger! The home remedy baking soda should not be used too often, as this can lead to an imbalance in the pH value in the body. The consequences can be stimulation of gastric acid production (acid reflux), a feeling of fullness, belching and flatulence, because when baking soda reacts with the gastric acid, the gas carbon dioxide is produced.

Heartburn: milk

With regard to heartburn home remedies (acute), it is also recommended to treat heartburn with milk. The professional association of German internists actually states that patients can benefit from a certain fluid intake. Heartburn + milk or water seems to be a helpful combination.14 However, some heartburn sufferers report worsening with milk.

>> Read the pros and cons of milk for heartburn here

In addition to milk and baking soda for heartburn, other home remedies such as pressed potato juice or teas can also be used. Anyone looking for answers to the question: "What helps heartburn?" Can find out more here

>> Home remedies for heartburn

Microbiotics: Effective Heartburn Remedies?

Medicines such as antibiotics or acid blockers have a direct influence on the delicate balance in the gastrointestinal tract. Especially with longer consumption, the composition of the intestinal microbiota (intestinal flora) can shift and not for the better.15 Proton pump inhibitors (acid blockers) are very often prescribed for heartburn and, by lowering the pH value in the stomach, can also have a negative impact on the intestinal flora. Gastrointestinal infections, e.g. with Clostridium difficile, can be an unpleasant consequence.16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25
In addition, an unbalanced colonization with intestinal bacteria can promote heartburn. For this reason, it can make sense to enrich the microbiome with selected probiotics in conjunction with drug therapy. The good news is that there are high quality microbiological preparations such as Innovall® AID that can be used to deliver selected strains of bacteria to the body. It is particularly interesting that the helpers contained in the intestine are capable of reproduction and can thus have a positive influence on the intestinal flora.
The bacterial cultures naturally occurring in the human intestine in Innovall® CDI are specially tailored to the needs of the intestine when there is an increased risk of Clostridium difficile infections and can be easily integrated into the antibiotic intake plan by using the capsule.

FAQ

1. What helps against heartburn?

Heartburn, especially if it occurs regularly, should be treated long-term. First and foremost, this includes reviewing the lifestyle. Tight clothing, obesity, stress, heavy meals, or those containing sweet or sour foods can make heartburn more likely. In addition, underlying diseases should be excluded. Lifestyle changes, medication, and selected home remedies are all suitable for treatment.

2. What to eat for heartburn?

Light foods such as wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, potatoes, low-acid fruit such as bananas and low-fat oils such as olive oil are particularly recommended. With vegetables, cucumber, spinach, and carrots can help with heartburn.

3. Heartburn, what works quickly?

Heartburn - what helps quickly differs from patient to patient. Among other things, taking baking soda for a short time can be helpful. However, this should not become the rule, as frequent ingestion can lead to acid reflux, gas, or diarrhea. Other home remedies, such as milk or healing clay, are also recommended to "extinguish" the acidic environment.

4. How does heartburn feel?

Heartburn is perceived differently. While some feel a burning sensation behind the breastbone, others feel a sharp pain. Acid regurgitation and stomach pain can also occur in combination with heartburn.

5. What helps against heartburn during pregnancy?

Heartburn and pregnant are classics. Heartburn home remedies are particularly recommended here so as not to burden the unborn child. Milk and special tea can be used, for example.

6. How does heartburn develop?

Heartburn occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach rise up the esophagus. Occasionally the sour "soup" makes it into the throat and mouth, which is particularly uncomfortable. The causes of heartburn are many. In addition to underlying diseases, functional disorders of the corresponding sphincter between the esophagus and stomach can also come into consideration.

7. How long does heartburn last?

How long heartburn lasts is very individual. First aid measures include baking soda. Heartburn is said to be able to be effectively combated in order to shorten the duration of heartburn. However, heartburn and baking soda are not a longer-term solution. If heartburn occurs repeatedly, a doctor should be consulted for advice.