A comfortless state of feeling of burning in the chest due to secretion of stomach acids back to oesophagus or a slight bitter taste in the mouth after having a big meal are symptoms the of heartburn. This unsatisfactory feeling can a last for a few minutes or can be prolonged for hours. It is assumed that the pain occurs in heart, but the truth is that it is sensed in the chest behind the breastbone.
What May Cause Heartburn?
The main reason can be the poor functioning of lower oesophageal muscle which helps food to fall in to stomach and prevents from acids found in stomach; it works as a valve. Normally when food is swallowed, lower oesophageal sphincter (this is a round banded muscle in oesophagus) permits food to pass down into stomach and if this muscle does not get closed tightly, it will allow the contents to come inside. This is medically termed as reflux.
There can be several other reasons for suffering from heartburn and hiatal hernia can be one of the reasons of heartburn. In hiatal hernia, a stomach part is pushed up to the wall of muscle between chest and stomach called diaphragm. The pain can be worse when patient lies down or bends over and can occur after eating big meals, drinking alcohol or taking carbonated drinks late at night. There might be a large number of other things which cause this problem such as chocolates, oily and spicy foods, peppermints, etc.
Acid indigestion affects quality of well-being by ruining respiratory tract and causing throat soreness, asthma, stomach ulcers and tooth damaging. In extreme situation, patient may also have blood vomiting. Some people lose their weight while others may have heart and diabetic attacks.
Besides normal scenario, pregnant women can also feel heartburn due to the production of progesterone hormones which works to soothe the valve that disjoins oesophagus to stomach and stops those gastric liquids to fall back to it. This is the cause of unpleasant burning in this cycle. Sometimes certain medications affect stomach as well.
Obvious conditions make diagnosis simple and there is no need to make further assessments. Visible symptoms can be pain in swallowing food, nausea and tooth loss. Treatment for the problem is endoscopy, in this condition, a small camera can be placed through mouth to see the damages resulting due to acids present in oesophagus. To prevent this problem getting worse or transforming into chronic disease, some acid blockers or anti-acids can be suggested by the practitioner.
Some certain conditions can be handled by the patient himself such as controlling weight, getting rid of tobacco and smoking, eating simple meals, avoiding late meals, wearing loose clothes because all this lessen the pressure on stomach. Heartburn can be handled easily if it is treated at the right time. There are home remedies and medical treatments as well. If it is neglected, it can badly damage the lining of oesophagus wall and push you bigger trouble. Slight changes in lifestyle and habits can be helpful in prevention.
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