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Is It Heartburn or Something Else?

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- With so many heartburn medications available over the counter, it might be surprising to learn that heartburn itself isn't a health condition, but rather a symptom of something else.

First, be sure to distinguish it from indigestion, which is primarily an uncomfortable fullness after eating. With heartburn, there's a burning sensation in your chest or neck. It might feel like food is coming back up into your mouth, maybe with a bad taste.

Fatty, fried and spicy dishes, citrus fruits, caffeinated drinks, garlic, onions and tomatoes are some foods that can bring on heartburn. So can habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.

Other Heartburn Triggers

  • Being overweight
  • Eating large meals
  • Lying down soon after eating

Making lifestyle changes to avoid these triggers may help reduce heartburn symptoms or their frequency.

If you still have heartburn on a regular basis, see your doctor. You could have GERD, which is gastro-esophageal reflux disease. That's when stomach acids and food back up into your esophagus, the tube that links your mouth and stomach. It often happens because the muscle that seals off your stomach is weak.

Getting the right diagnosis is especially important if you have persistent symptoms like a sore throat, cough or scratchy voice, difficulty or pain when swallowing, frequent burping or vomiting. Don't self-treat with over-the-counter heartburn medications. They're not effective for everyone and some have serious long-term side effects. And they can't treat any underlying problem.

Also know that chest pain called angina and even a heart attack can feel like heartburn. If you have persistent pain and you aren't sure if it's just heartburn, call 911.

More information

The American Gastroenterological Association has more on GERD and how to recognize it.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=743777

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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