Heartburn -- Overview
(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease; Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease [GORD]; GERD; Reflux, Heartburn)
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- Exercising or strenuous activity immediately after eating
- Lying down, bending over, or straining after eating
- Prior surgery for heartburn such as vagotomy
- Certain nervous system disorders
- In-dwelling nasogastric tube
- Alcohol use, especially in excess
- Caffeine drinks such as coffee or carbonated soft drinks
- Citrus fruits
- Fried foods
- Spicy foods
- Foods made with tomatoes, such as pizza, chili, or spaghetti sauce
- Calcium channel blockers
- Theophylline, bronchial inhalers, and other asthma medications
- Burning feeling that starts in the lower chest and moves up the throat
- Feeling that food is coming back up
- Sour or bitter taste in the throat
- Sore throat
- Chronic cough
- Feeling of a lump in the throat
- Waking up with a sensation of choking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bleeding and ulcers in the esophagus
- Vomiting blood
- Black or tarry stools
- Inflammation and scarring of the esophagus
- Barrett's esophagus — precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer
- Dental problems, which may occur because of the effect of stomach acid on tooth enamel
When Should I Call My Doctor?
When Should I Call for Medical Help Immediately?
- Squeezing or chest pressure
- Pain in the left shoulder, left arm, or jaw
- Trouble breathing
- Sweating, clammy skin
- Pain that starts during activity or stress
- 24-hour pH (acid) monitoring
- Manometry to test muscle strength in the lower esophagus
- Keep a food diary of what you eat and what the reaction is. Make gradual changes to your diet and record the results.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn symptoms.
- Eat smaller portions.
- Allow at least 2-3 hours between meals and lying down, and exercise.
- Lose weight .
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid belts and clothing that are too tight. This may increase pressure on the abdomen.
- Elevate head of bed 6-8 inches.
- Proton-pump inhibitors block acid production in the stomach
- H-2 blockers decrease the amount of acid secreted by the stomach
- Antacids neutralize stomach acid
American Gastroenterological Association http://www.gastro.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov
Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated April 25, 2013. Accessed April 26, 2013.
Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/ . Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 26, 2013.
Heartburn. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/heartburn.html . Updated July 2010. Accessed April 26, 2013.
Understanding Heartburn and Reflux Disease. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/heartburn-gerd . Updated April 25, 2010. Accessed April 26, 2013.
Warning signs of a heart attack. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack%5FUCM%5F002039%5FArticle.jsp . Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed April 26. 2013.
9/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Jacobson BC, Moy B, Colditz GA, Fuchs CS. Postmenopausal hormone use and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Arch Intern Med . 2008;168:1798-1804.
3/1/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Maalox Total Relief and Maalox liquid products: medication use errors. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm200672.htm . Published February 17, 2010. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 04/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -