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.
Most normal infants have a certain amount of acid reflux and this is quite common. However, there are some situations in which the reflux can lead to more serious medical conditions such as GERD. While many people may not realize it, GERD in infants is a frequent occurrence and there are many telltale signs. It is important to know and understand all of the symptoms of GERD in infants and to educate yourself on proper identification of GERD in infants.
One of the most common symptoms of GERD in infants is frequent vomiting or spitting up. Of course this is not the same as the “normal” spitting up that generally occurs between the first and third month of the infant’s life. The trouble is for some infants this problem becomes severe and requires treatment. In these cases you may be looking at GERD as the culprit.
Infants who have GERD also tend to be quite irritable when it comes time to eat. This irritability will be noted by crying, restlessness, fussiness, whining or even downright screaming. It is not hard to distinguish an irritable baby. If your baby is more irritable when it comes to feeding then you may want to consult your doctor to see what the reason is. It is very possible that eating is painful for your infant as a result of reflux.
If you infant does not seem to have much of an appetite or gets full to easily then this also could be cause for concern. GERD in infants tends to show itself in the form of a poor or under developed appetite. Of course, if it hurt you to eat, you would probably lose your appetite as well so such is understandable. While some infants may take less formula at some meals than others, if the problem becomes consistent, seek medical advice.
Another symptom of GERD in infants is clear and visible pain during feeding. If an infant is experiencing some sort of stomach discomfort, the most visible sign will be back arching and drawing up his/her legs. A comfortable baby will feel relaxed in your arms during feedings. A baby who is experiencing pain will struggle and you will be able to feel the tension in the infant.
A frequent cough or hoarse voice could also be indicative of GERD in infants. This is because the acid will eventually begin affecting the larynx of the child. In addition, hiccups which happen quite frequently and last for long periods of time may also be a sign of GERD in infants. This does not mean a tiny cough or a couple of spells of hiccups means your infant has GERD but ongoing issues should be checked out.
Many infants with GERD also spit up during burps frequently. These types of burps are generally referred to as “wet burps.” Again, a few wet burps probably isn’t cause for alarm but if it happens a lot then it would probably be safe to say a doctor’s visit would be in order.
Finally, a problem with sleeping comfortable or awakening frequently with what appears to be abdominal discomfort could be a sign of acid reflux or GERD in infants. This is because the acid is much more apt to rise into the throat and esophagus while the child is in a lying position. If your baby seems to experience painful bouts of wakefulness throughout the night then ask your pediatrician to check for other symptoms of GERD.
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
Chest pain due to heartburn is often confused with heart attack chest pain.
Below are typical symptoms of heart attack:
Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.
Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms. The pain may be mild to intense. It may feel like pressure, tightness, burning, or heavy weight. It may be located in the chest, upper abdomen, neck, jaw, or inside the arms or shoulders.
Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Anxiety, nervousness and/or cold, sweaty skin.
Paleness or pallor.
Increased or irregular heart rate.
Feeling of impending doom.
So if you have symptoms similar to ones listed above seek emergency help immediately.
Below are typical symptoms of heartburn:
A burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours.
Chest pain, especially after bending over, lying down or eating.
Burning in the throat — or hot, sour, acidic or salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat.
Feeling of food “sticking” in the middle of the chest or throat.
Heartburn may cause chronic cough, sore throat, or chronic hoarseness
So use these two lists to distinguish between these different types of pains. Who knows maybe this can save you a life sometime.
It is usually believed that too much of swallowed air is the culprit behind excessive burping, but a new study conducted by researchers from Netherlands and Belgium and published in the latest issue of journal ‘Gut’ has challenged this age-old belief.Most people burp three or four times after a normal meal, but the people in this study burped an average 67 times an hour.
A total of 14 excessive burpers and 14 normal people ate a hamburger, fresh onions, chips and had a drink of orange juice, as part of the study.
The researchers then used a new method called intraluminal impedance monitoring, which involves inserting a tube down the oesophagus to record electrical activity.
However, they found no difference in the amount of air swallowed or the size of the air bubble in the stomach, but they confirmed two distinct types of burps.
The first kind was the result of gas from the stomach, or gastric belching. The second type, or supragastric belching, involved gas from the oesophagus that never made it down to the stomach.
The normal group only did gastric burps but the burpers did both, suggesting their belching was self-induced rather than the result of excess gas.
The researchers said, “Their repetitive and bothersome belches originate from a distinct belch pattern, characterised by air that does not reach the stomach.”
“We suspect that excessive belching is some kind of learned behaviour that is initially induced consciously. After a while, however, this control is lost,” they added.
Australian gastroenterologist Dr Katie Ellard said that the study confirmed that burping was behavioural, rather than indicating a serious medical problem.
“I will sometimes say to people you’re not allowed to burp; sometimes you just have to say ’stop it’,” Ellard said.
For more information look at our aerophagia and excessive burping page
Acid reflux is a condition when your lower esophagus sphincter (LES) is not closing completely or relaxing more frequently than normal. This causes heartburn and burping.
There are couple simple methods to avoidÂ burping too much:
- Reduce carbonated soft drinks intake. Air in them will cause a lot of burping.
- Milk products can also cause burping.
- Cut down on caffeine. It relaxes LES.
Another cause for burping could be aerophagia. For more information on how to deal with it look at this aerophagia page
1. Take some Tums or Mylanta
2. Drink some milk
3. Drink some Slippery Elm tea
4. Elevate the head of your bed
5. Take some Prilosec from any drug store
6. Take some deglycyrrhizinated licorice
7. Chew a chewing gum to neutralize acid with your saliva
8. Take some aloe juice
9. Take some honey
10. Eat some bananas – they reduce stomach acid
11. Suck some hard candy.
12. Take a teaspoon of mustard
13. Try eating a peace of toast
14. Eat some yogurt.
15. Eat cooked rice
16. Drink peppermint/basil/salvia/chamomile tea
17. Eat uncooked almonds
18. Take some Pepto Bismol
19. Eat baked potatoto
20. Don’t forget to go to your doctor! This maybe the most effective way.