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.
After having suffered through all those weeks of ‘morning sickness,’ the last thing any pregnant woman wants to go through is another several months of heartburn. Unfortunately, heartburn is common in pregnancy because of all that extra weight you are carrying up front. That tiny baby is causing an upwards pressure on your stomach which may then cause the contents up into the esophagus. Although there are a number of medications on the market, most women try to treat heartburn naturally. Here are some suggestions which have been found effective as well as safe for many pregnant mothers.
Avoid Spicy and Fatty Foods
Although we know that spicy or fatty foods tend to cause heartburn, what many women don’t know is that they also weaken the esophageal sphincter. This allows for foods to come back up more readily, but spicy and fatty foods also tend to be more acidic. Since it is acid that causes the discomfort, you want to avoid foods that cause an excess of stomach acids.
Sleep with Your Head Elevated
Anyone suffering from heartburn should make every effort to sleep with the head elevated. This is true during pregnancy as well. When looking at natural heartburn remedies during pregnancy give this remedy some serious thought. There are wedge-shaped pillows on the market for just this purpose and as you progress through your trimesters you will find that it helps keep you more comfortable as well!
Smaller Meals More Often
Keep in mind that your baby is taking up a lot of room in your midsection so you should try to avoid overeating. Most obstetricians suggest that you eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. This is good, sound advice for anyone suffering from heartburn but it is also an effective remedy during pregnancy as well. Besides helping to relieve heartburn you will feel so much more comfortable not being overly full.
Don’t Nap Directly After Eating
Whether or not you choose to sleep with your head elevated, the worst thing you can do is take a nap directly after eating. Give your stomach time to begin digesting some of that food so that it can work its way down instead of back up again. It is suggested that you try to walk around a bit after eating and wait at least an hour before taking that much needed nap.
Eat Yogurt for Dessert
In recent years there has been a great deal of information in regards to something called probiotics. Yogurt culture is naturally high in probiotics which aid in digestion and keep friendly bacteria at healthy levels in your intestinal tract. Instead of eating a piece of pie or a dish of ice cream for dessert (with or without pickles!) try a nice tasty portion of yogurt. This will go a long way in relieving heartburn during pregnancy.
Papaya and Ginger
One of the oldest Chinese heartburn remedies during pregnancy is ginger, believe it or not! Chinese women have added fresh ginger root to soups and teas for thousands of years and to this day it is one of the most common remedies for heartburn. A nice portion of papaya can help as well since papayas are naturally high in digestive enzymes. The key is to keep foods moving through your digestive system so they aren’t sitting in your stomach waiting to back up into your esophagus. Both ginger and papaya are wonder workers in this regard.
If you are like so many women who would rather go au natural at this happy time, try some of these natural heartburn remedies during pregnancy. You would be surprised at just how far a few lifestyle and dietary changes can go in remedying heartburn. Of course you should discuss any changes with your doctor, but you will find that these suggestions are safe and effective. Give them a try!
We all know that pregnancy comes with a series of uncomfortable symptoms. Usually, just when we think one is gone another emerges! The good news is it does not last forever and there is a wonderful package arriving at the end. The bad news is that you will have to endure the many quirks that come with being pregnant. Today we will discuss heartburn and what you can do to help relieve yourself from it, if it should occur and there is a very good chance it will.
A Bit of Prevention Goes a Long Way
Unfortunately, there is no way to actually stop heartburn from ever occurring during pregnancy. It is just one of those things women have learned to deal with. However, we have all heard that a bit of prevention goes a long way and in this case, that saying couldn’t be more useful. In order to minimize your risk of heartburn, avoid eating foods you know are apt to cause it. This includes foods which are extremely spicy, nuts, certain sugary snacks, soda and a number of others. Basically, if you know that something has caused you to get heartburn before, steer clear of it. There will be plenty of time for that once the baby arrives.
Sleep in a Propped Up Position
Not only will sleeping in a propped up position during the later stages of pregnancy help you to breath better as the baby will not be putting pressure on your lungs, but it can also help stop excess stomach acid from traveling up into the esophagus. This is true whether you are pregnant or not but most non-pregnant people prefer to lie down when they sleep. Put a few cushy pillows behind you and get in the most comfortable propped up position you can. Doing this may just help you realize a better night sleep with less or no heartburn. Always keep a few saltine crackers next to your bed just in case you should start to feel that all too familiar burning sensation as they work to help soak up some of that extra acid.
Eat Small Meals More Frequently
Instead of filling your stomach to capacity at each meal, eat a small meal and let that digest. If you become hungry more often that is fine, just give yourself a couple of hours and eat another small meal. The less food you put in your stomach at a time, the easier it will be to digest properly. This will help a great deal when it comes to preventing heartburn or at least stopping it from becoming a serious problem for you. Noshing (eating a little bit at a time many times throughout the day) is really the best thing a pregnant woman can do.
Watch Your Posture
How many of us have heard our mothers or grandmothers tell us to sit up straight or we’d get a hunched back? Well, guess what! I am about to tell you to sit up straight too, not only to sit up straight but stand up straight as well. Standing or sitting in a hunched over position can lead to stomach acid traveling up into your esophagus much easier. Pay attention to the way you are sitting or standing. Believe it or not, it really makes a difference!
If you are experiencing horrible heartburn during your pregnancy and none of the above suggestions seems to be helping, speak to your doctor about medications which may be safe for you. There are some over the counter remedies that your doctor may allow but beware of any containing aluminum or aspirin and always check with your physician first.
No matter whom you ask, you will get varying answers as to just how many women experience heartburn during pregnancy and when it is most likely to occur. The consensus seems to be that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of pregnant women suffer from heartburn, but that is where the similarities end. Some doctors say that heartburn during pregnancy is likely to begin in the first or second trimester while some believe it most commonly begins during the second or third trimester. In any case, one thing everyone agrees with is the fact that you should never take any medications unless you speak with your doctor or midwife first.
What Causes Heartburn during Pregnancy?
The first thing to know about heartburn during pregnancy is where it comes from. There are some who believe it is hormonal changes in the body while others feel that it is the extra weight causing pressure on the stomach and in turn the esophagus. Morning sickness is common for pregnant women but heartburn is different. It is that burning sensation from your chest up to your throat, commonly referred to as acid indigestion. Excess acidity refluxes up through the esophageal sphincter and is the ultimate cause of heartburn.
Heartburn during Pregnancy First Trimester
While it seems to be less common for women to experience heartburn during pregnancy first trimester, there are those who do and luckily it is easier to treat at this time. Although you still need to be careful about using medications, even OTC antacids, you are not faced with a huge baby pushing your organs all out of whack, compounding the problem. If you are one of the unlucky ones who start experiencing heartburn early on, treatment will follow similar patterns as in any other trimester, the main difference being the severity of the symptoms in most cases.
Heartburn during Pregnancy Treatment Options
The most widely accepted heartburn during pregnancy treatment options includes lifestyle changes. Most doctors recommend eating lighter meals more frequently, wearing loose fitting clothing and of course you are asked to stop smoking. Of course you would want to anyway, but if for some unknown reason you didn’t, this would be a good time to do so. There is one other suggestion which many healthcare professionals recommend and that is to elevate the head of the bed by six to eight inches. It can either be done with blocks under the frame at the head or with a wedged pillow. Just make sure that the pillow is firm enough to support your weight to keep the top portion of your body elevated.
Heartburn during Pregnancy Natural Remedies
Before taking any natural remedies, consult with your doctor because some herbal preparations are known to cause complications during pregnancy. Keep in mind that you are trying to neutralize the acid so anything that is alkaline should help, such as milk or a bit of baking soda in cool water. The ancient Chinese swore by ginger root and this remedy has been around for literally thousands of years. It is also suggested that vitamin B-6 is helpful with heartburn during pregnancy as it is known to be beneficial to morning sickness.
For women suffering from heartburn during pregnancy the best advice is to try to take it easy. Limit your intake of fatty foods, stop drinking coffee and soda and make sure that you try to reduce your stress level. By wearing loose fitting clothing and eating smaller meals throughout the day, you should be able control heartburn during pregnancy to some degree. If you find that it becomes unbearable talk to your doctor for a treatment which is safe for both you and baby. With a little luck, it will all be over once the baby is born.