Many people experience what they refer to as heartburn or indigestion. In reality, heartburn symptoms can vary from one person to the next. Generally, the most commonly experienced symptom feels similar to a burning sensation in the chest. The pain may move upward from the breastbone toward the throat.
Some people who experience heartburn may find that it is worse after eating, especially certain dishes or foods. Heartburn can last for a short while although it has also been known to last for several hours as well. Other people who experience heartburn report worse experiences with it at night, sometimes even to the point of being awakened by the symptoms.
In some cases, heartburn may present with other symptoms as well. These symptoms include discomfort in the abdominal region, chest pain, throat pain, acid reflux, and an acidic taste in the mouth. This taste may also resemble a bitter or sour taste. Difficulty in swallowing may also be experienced. Belching is also a frequent symptom associated with heartburn.
Persons who experience heartburn symptoms may find that lying down or bending over causes symptoms to grow worse. In addition, because the stomach produces more acid just after eating, symptoms may also worsen after eating.
While these symptoms are not as common, heartburn has been known to cause problems such as chronic coughing, hoarseness, loss of voice, and wheezing that is somewhat similar to symptoms associated with asthma.
Due to the fact that heartburn symptoms can vary widely from one person to another, it is often important to find out what is triggering the symptoms of heartburn in order to discover a cure. To be certain over-the-counter and natural remedies often help; however, making certain lifestyle changes can also help to reduce or eliminate heartburn symptoms.
Just a few possible triggers of heartburn symptoms include eating habits, such as eating certain foods or eating large portions as well as assuming certain body positions. In addition, there are also several conditions that can cause heartburn symptoms. These conditions include pregnancy and being overweight. Lifestyle habits such as stress and smoking have also been associated with heartburn symptoms.
Learning to associate certain triggers with your heartburn symptoms can be an important first step in learning to control the symptoms of your heartburn. While it may not be possible to completely eradicate your heartburn symptoms by making lifestyle changes, many people find they can lessen the frequency and severity of their heartburn symptoms.
Frequent Heartburn – When to Worry
Many individuals who suffer from heartburn wonder when they should worry about the symptoms associated with heartburn, particularly persons who suffer from frequent heartburn. While heartburn symptoms can be painful and can certainly cause a tremendous amount of discomfort there is usually no reason to worry about them in relation to any serious type of medical problem unless you are experiencing heartburn on a frequent basis or the symptoms are becoming worse.
Generally, when heartburn is experienced only on an occasional basis there is no reason to believe it could be connected with any type of serious medical condition. When it grows worse or becomes more frequent; however, you may have other more serious problems.
For example, if you have heartburn on a frequent basis you may develop an inflammation in the lining of the esophagus known as esophagitis. If this condition grows worse the esophagus could actually become restricted and lead to problems swallowing or result in bleeding. Other more serious problems that could be related to frequent heartburn include gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. A peptic ulcer or gastritis, which is an inflammation in the lining of the stomach, could also result from frequent heartburn.
If your symptoms grow worse or the frequency of heartburn increases you should speak with your doctor to determine whether there is a more serious condition present. Your doctor may need to perform tests to determine this including x-rays, a pH test, or an endoscopy to view the stomach. In the event you have pain when swallowing, trouble swallowing, begin vomiting blood, become short of breath, lightheaded/dizzy, pain radiating from the shoulder or neck, break out in sweat along with chest pain, or experience heartburn more than 3 times per week for more than 2 weeks you should see your doctor.
While the pain in the chest frequently experienced by individuals with heartburn may be thought by some to be associated with heart attacks there is really no connection. Heartburn is usually just that and there is no reason to be concerned beyond relieving the symptoms of the heartburn unless you experience it on a frequent basis or have other more serious symptoms along with the symptoms of heartburn.
Frequent heartburn can often be successfully treated by a variety of medications to protect the lining of the esophagus while controlling the flow of acid through the esophagus, thereby controlling the symptoms related to frequent heartburn.