While GERD and Acid Reflux disease are very similar, they are not the same thing. Some people do confuse the two terms but there are differences. Acid Reflux is basically the same thing as Heartburn. It occurs when there is back flow of stomach acid into the food pipe (esophagus). The esophagus is the pipe that connects the stomach and the throat. Commonly, acid reflux is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux in the medical profession. If you are experiencing acid reflux there is a chance you will taste a sour flavor as a result of regurgitated food and acid that travel up the esophagus.
This condition is very serious if left untreated and can eventually lead to GERD which is essentially a much more severe form of acid reflux. The most typical symptoms of GERD are heartburn which occurs more often than not. In addition you can develop a bad cough, vomiting, nausea, chest pain and a number of other undesirable conditions. GERD can become so serious that it can actually cause holes and ulcers to form in the stomach lining, esophagus and throat. In some cases GERD will require a surgical procedure in order to repair damage that has occurred inside the digestive system.
If acid reflux is treated properly and controlled efficiently, there is a very good chance that GERD may never become an issue. However, acid reflux that is left untreated and unattended can easily turn into a much worse problem. If your doctor has given you specific instructions on controlling your heartburn, the best advice is to follow his/her suggestions. Many people who have habits such as drinking or smoking are prime candidates for GERD. This is because these are two of the hardest habits to break and also, unfortunately, two of the most common contributing factors to acid reflux and GERD.
The most common times to experience the worst symptoms of GERD or Acid Reflux for that matter is at night when you are laying in your bed. This is why most doctors will suggest eating a good two or three hours before going to bed. This means going to bed on an empty stomach is the best way to avoid heartburn or other discomfort at night.
If you have questions about your acid reflux and want to know how to avoid it turning to GERD, speak with your doctor and follow his/her advice on treatment. In most cases treatment with medications to control acid will be quite effective.
What was once known as simple heartburn has recently, in the past decade or so, been named Acid Reflux Disease. This sounds quite ominous and certainly much more serious than heartburn. The truth of the matter is that Acid Reflux is a diagnosis that is often given to people who have a problem with chronic and excessive stomach acid, thereby causing pain and discomfort. The question is, when is it actually acid reflux disease or just simple, occasional heartburn?
Heartburn is called such because it is the feeling of burning caused by stomach acid travelling up the esophagus (food pipe) and into the throat. It can cause a hoarse voice, coughing and several other related symptoms if it is considered chronic or continues for prolonged periods. Typically, heartburn that occurs more frequently than once or twice a week is called Acid reflux Disease. This means there is an underlying problem that is causing these frequent bouts of heartburn. Generally speaking, heartburn/acid reflux is easy to treat provided there are no complications such as ulcer or GERD that develop.
The usual treatment for chronic heartburn or acid reflux is a series of medication, either over the counter or prescription. Heartburn remedies may also be natural and there are many different ways people do this. One great natural remedy for heartburn is a half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with an 8 ounce glass of water. Some people use apple cider vinegar and a number of other natural products to help relieve the symptoms.
The most important thing to understand is that often times a doctor is going to be necessary as there can be a number of complications caused by acid reflux disease or chronic heartburn. If the stomach acid becomes so excessive, it can actually burn holes in your stomach or esophagus which could result in an emergency repair surgery.
If you have been experiencing heartburn or you have been diagnosed with acid reflux disease; do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you notice an increase in symptoms or pain. It does not take long for things to go bad when you are dealing with acid reflux or chronic heartburn. The good news is that in most cases surgical procedures can repair any damage that has been done to the digestive system.
The bottom line is that what we know today as acid reflux is the same condition people have known as chronic heartburn for years. There truly is no difference other than the name. A diagnosis of acid reflux disease does not mean you are going to die or that you have some horrid condition, it simply means you will have to adjust your eating habits and make some changes to your lifestyle.
With any illness or disease there are usually a number of risk factors. For examples, exposing yourself to certain chemicals can cause Cancer. The same can be said of Heartburn; there are certain foods and eating habits that can lead to this uncomfortable and often painful condition. Knowing what Heartburn risk factors are will help you to avoid the nasty symptoms associated with it.
Let us start by saying that the term heartburn does not have a thing to do with your heart. It is simply called heartburn because it is a burning pain that travels up the esophagus from the stomach as a result of an excessive amount of stomach acid being produced. One of the most obvious risk factors for heartburn is of course the food you incorporate into your diet. People who eat spicy foods, fatty foods and foods that contain high levels of sugar are often afflicted by heartburn more often.
Being overweight can also cause heartburn as there is added pressure to your stomach and esophagus. Another heartburn risk factor is smoking cigarettes. There is not a lot of information as to why smoking would cause heartburn other than the fact that it irritates the lining of the stomach and lungs. Sometimes when people lie down too soon after eating heartburn can develop. The best rule of thumb is to wait for at least an hour or two after eating to lie down in bed.
It is important to note that heartburn mimics heart attack. The only time heartburn can occur is after food has been eaten. If a person experiences what feels like heartburn four hours before or after a meal a visit to the hospital may be a good idea. Unfortunately, a heart attack can feel exactly like heartburn and vice versa.
Above all advice when it comes to heartburn risk factors is to know your own body. If you know that something tends to cause heartburn, do not eat it. If there is something that you absolutely love and would like to eat once in a while then try using an acid reducer medication an hour before your meal.
Heartburn that happens a couple of times a month is probably not a big deal but if you begin noticing it occurring more than once a week then you may have a chronic problem and should seek medical attention. Heartburn can lead to GERD, ulcers and a number of other complications if it is not treated properly.
All children have a tendency to get an upset stomach from time to time. However, when it becomes a chronic problem and your child appears to be in pain, you may want to consider the possibility that your child is suffering from what is called acid reflux disease. This is a very painful condition in which stomach acid rises up into the esophagus and throat. The only thing worse than suffering from acid reflux yourself, is watching your child go through it.
This condition can cause major frustration as there can be a number of other ailments which appear to be acid reflux. Sometimes food allergies or sensitivities can cause children to have symptoms which mimic acid reflux. For example, something your child eats regularly may be causing acid indigestion. If that food were to be eliminated then the symptoms would just stop. Of course if you do not know what the food is, this in itself will pose a problem.
The only way to know for sure if your child is suffering from acid reflux is to have the child’s condition diagnosed by a physician. However, there are some acid reflux symptoms in kids you might watch for. If your child seems to experience a lot of discomfort after eating and he/she complains of a burning sensation, this could be a sign of acid reflux. Keep in mind that a few episodes of normal heartburn do not point to acid reflux. This will be something that happens more often than not in a child who is suffering from reflux.
You may also notice your child does not seem to thrive in terms of gaining weight appropriately. This can be related to many medical conditions but when considering acid reflux in children this is indeed one of the symptoms. If this is coupled with chronic vomiting then there is even more reason to be concerned.
If you have notice that your child seems to have a persistent cough that occurs more frequently upon waking, this could also be a result of the acid rising into the throat and esophagus. Acid reflux in children will cause irritation that could easily lead to a chronic cough. Burping to excess is also a sign of acid reflux and if you notice this address it with you physician. This is especially true if regurgitation accompanies the burping.
Wheezing, obvious discomfort while eating and frequent gagging are also telltale signs that you child may be suffering from acid reflux in children. No matter whom you are, acid reflux is a painful and uncomfortable condition, and that is putting it mildly. For a child this debilitating condition can really have an effect on the quality of his/her life. The good news is that there are many known acid reflux for kids treatments. Talk to your doctor to see what the best option for treatment will be if you have a child who is diagnosed with acid reflux disease.
There is never any reason in today’s world that a child should suffer with acid reflux. We have too many resources at our fingertips and a variety of ways in which this condition can be treated and the symptoms managed. Do not wait to take your child to a doctor if you suspect acid reflux disease as prolonging treatment can lead to other more serious complications such as GERD. If treatment is not started early there is even a chance that stomach ulcers and other underlying conditions can emerge as a result of the untreated regurgitation of the stomach acid.
Since the beginning of time, babies have been ‘spitting up’ and parents thought nothing of it. They simply thought baby ate too much, or ate too fast or simply had a case of ‘colic’ but there was no huge widespread concern that something was wrong with their child. In today’s world where so much is known about medical science, it would seem as though parents would not be as concerned as they are when baby starts spitting up. Most often acid reflux in babies causes more concern for the parent than there should be. Nothing sinister is going on if baby regurgitates after eating, especially when formula fed.
Understanding Acid Reflux in Babies Symptoms and Common Causes
Pediatricians will tell you that reflux is normal in babies. Consider the fact that your baby’s stomach is no larger than a golf ball so that when they drink too much milk there is nowhere for it to go quickly enough but up! Another common cause of acid reflux in babies is that the lower esophageal valve may not have yet properly tightened up to keep stomach contents down where they should be. If your baby is content after eating and spitting up without any signs of distress, then you can safely assume that one of above caused the reflux. However, if your baby appears to be in pain or at least a certain amount of discomfort, then it is time to talk to baby’s doctor about acid reflux in babies remedies.
Acid Reflux in Babies – GERD
If spitting up is causing baby pain, the pediatrician may indeed make a diagnosis of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) which he or she will prescribe treatment for. The unfortunate thing about this is that many parents automatically assume their baby has GERD and will exaggerate the symptoms when explaining them to the child’s doctor. Be aware of this when monitoring your baby because it is always better not to treat baby with medications if at all possible. New parents are especially prone to exaggerating symptoms in babies, but luckily, doctors are well aware of this. If baby is screaming in obvious discomfort after eating and spitting up, breathing irregularly or is not growing well, it may really be GERD.
Acid Reflux in Babies Tips for Parents
Especially for newborns, it is better to feed baby much smaller amounts more frequently to avoid over-filling that tiny stomach. Try to keep baby in as upright a position for at least 1/4 to 1/2 hour after eating because this lets gravity help bring the milk/formula down from the stomach to the intestines. Also, doctors suggest that you make absolutely certain that there is no pressure on baby’s stomach immediately after eating and if you need to, you can add a bit of rice cereal to the formula to thicken up the fluid. If you are nursing your child, pump some of your milk so that you can give one or two feedings a day with infant rice cereal formula.
To ease your fears, remember that acid reflux in babies is normal and most often just a simple case of spitting up. If it is causing your child a great deal of distress or pain, baby will cry after eating. Watch for symptoms that show your child is suffering. If baby seems happy after spitting up, there is probably nothing to worry about. Baby’s doctor will try to avoid prescribing medications if they are not needed, but in case medication is called for, gentle antacids can usually be safely given without adverse effects. In any case, don’t give baby any medication OTC or otherwise unless you speak with your doctor first.
Milk is a very popular home remedy for heartburn. Well it may work fine during the day to soothe the stomach after heavy meal. But don’t use it before sleep to prevent nighttime heartburn. The problem is that milk is only effective for 30 or 40 minutes. Since it is a high calorie food which requires quite some energy to be digested your stomach will produce even more acid than milk originally neutralized. That is why if you had some milk before going to sleep to treat your heartburn you can expect a sleepless night.
I strongly recommend to replace it with water since it will dilute the acid and get it out of stomach faster.
Don’t try to get rid of heartburn by eating something (there are lots of beliefs that eating something will help heartburn). If it is something high calorie it will produce even more acid.
Best recommendation is to stay awake for 2-3 hours after your last meal. This will guarantee that you will go to sleep with an empty stomach and zero nighttime heartburn.
If you cannot stay awake for that long I strongly recommend getting wedge pillow. It will elevate your body in a way preventing acid from getting to your esophagus. Wedge pillow could be uncomfortable for some people but you don’t need to sleep on it entire night (except a case when you have a severe chronic heartburn which needs to be treated for several months). Usually you will need it only for first 2-3 hours of sleep.
According to recent review released by the Food and Drug Administration patients who suffer from heartburn are not at increased risk for heart problems as a result of taking Prilosec or Nexium. The FDA and its Canadian counterpart began reviewing the drugs, used by tens of millions of people, in May.
The drug’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca PLC, provided them with an early analysis of two small studies that suggested the possibility of a risk.
The agency said its review of that study as well as 14 others indicated no increased risk for patients.
“FDA recommends that health care providers continue to prescribe, and patients continue to use these products as prescribed,” the agency said.
Well it is a great news for us – heartburn sufferers. We can take our Protonixes, Prilosecs and Nexiums without worrying about consequences too much .
I hope they will do more research regarding all other concerns related to long term PPI treatment like malnutrition, potential lung diseases, etc. For example:
Vitamin B12 Levels During Prolonged Treatment With Proton Pump Inhibitors.
Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 30(1):29-33, January 2000.
Howden, Colin W.
Reduced serum vitamin B12 (cobalamin) levels have been documented occasionally during long-term treatment with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) in selected groups of patients. This has largely been confined to patients being treated for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome who have sustained drug-induced achlorhydria, which does not ordinarily occur during treatment with a PPI. An appreciation of normal cobalamin metabolism and the pharmacological action of the PPIs adequately explain the mechanism for this reduction. PPIs do not promote the development of pernicious anemia.
To celebrate 1 year anniversary of Manage Your Heartburn I created an overview of “How I cured my Heartburn” in a form of a short article so every visitor of this site could read it in 5 minutes and get a good overview on how I did it. Check it out here
Sorry for the delay in writing – I was on short vacation. I hope you find my blog interesting and useful. Even though it is not very personalized I try to put as much useful information here as possible.
There were a couple of occasions recently when I was drinking beer or wine. Usually when I drink it over some certain amount I’m guaranteed to have night time heartburn. Usually my limit is 1 glass. Anything more than that = pain (usually minor but still pain).
So I tried to come up with some idea on how to reduce this pain even when you overindulge. I though that when you drink much you usually have alcohol staying in your system for some time. I read that alcohol usually stays from 1 hour to 10-12 hours. So the goal is to get rid of this alcohol as soon as possible. Doing this has two benefits. First it will reduce the night time heartburn (or hopefully it won’t show up at all). And second it will reduce the hangover.
So here are couple advices.
- Eat food while you drink. Food, especially high protein food such as meat, cheese and peanuts, will help slow the absorption of alcohol into your body.
- Drink water 1 hour before going to sleep (after being done with drinking). Alcohol pushes out water from the body. At the same time water pushes alcohol from the body too. This will also reduce morning dehydration and hangover (if you were drinking way too much)
- Incliner Sleep Wedge is an innovative sleep solution. It was scientifically designed just to help acid reflux sufferers. It relieves acid reflux by elevating your head, shoulders and upper body as doctors recommend. It helps you to sleep in a natural position for controlling heartburn, respiratory problems and digestion ailments. An alternative to sleep wedge pillow is Mattress Genie
- Over the course of living with heartburn and acid reflux I found only one herbal treatment which is very effective. It is Slippery Elm. I mostly use it in the form of the powder and make a tea out of it. Tea isn’t very tasty but it covers stomach and esophagus with gel like liquid which protects them from acid. Usually one cup of tea is good enough to have zero heartburn through the night and in the morning.
When it comes at night (hopefully it won’t) don’t suffer in the bed. Stand by and sip some water. This will dilute acid in your stomach and also help your stomach to clear up. Also wait for some time 10-20 minutes before going to sleep again. Water and acid will leave stomach sooner when you’re standing or sitting.
I hope these advises will help you to win a fight over the heartburn!