Heartburn: Overview

21 October 2017

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It feels as if acid rise up his neck. And actually creates heartburn when acidic stomach juices to flow into the esophagus. Often certain foods trigger the symptoms of, but also a pregnancy and some diseases can cause heartburn.

Is often accompanied by heartburn and acid reflux associated, with some gastric juice can flow into the throat or mouth. Some sufferers also digesta comes from the duodenum back into the esophagus. This is then passed through the bile not acidic, but alkaline - but can also lead to complaints.

In the long run the mucosa can change in the esophagus from frequent heartburn. To mucosal damage - Doctors refer to "erosions" - prevent, sufferers should consult a doctor if problems persist.

Heartburn occurs when the locking mechanism between the esophagus and stomach is disturbed. The stomach is lined with a mucous membrane, which protects it from stomach acid and on the other hand makes insensitive. The esophagus, however, does not have such a protective layer - so it hurts when it comes into contact with the rising stomach acid.

However, the weakness of the sphincter, there may be other causes than the reflux disease. Very often occurs Heartburn in pregnancy on. The hormonal changes may cause the protective sphincter between the stomach and esophagus is flaccid. In addition, the uterus grows and presses on the stomach. Ultimately, the sphincter gives way easier and the gastric juices to flow into the esophagus. Heartburn occurs when about half of all women in the course of their pregnancy.

also, certain diets and tobacco can trigger heartburn. for example, alcohol or nicotine effect that the muscle separating the esophagus from the stomach relaxes. orange juice or hot spices (Chili) irritate the esophageal lining. There is food, drinks and beverages, the acid production stimulate the stomach. These include:

We see coffee beans and a cup of coffee. © Jupiter Images / iStockphoto

Coffee leads many people to heartburn.

Other possible causes of heartburn are:

Are no pathological changes in the stomach detectable, the complaints may be able with a irritable stomach related. A stomach irritation often arises when the Gastric motility limited is. Here, the muscles of the stomach wall too slow, or you moves uncoordinated, so the food is not transported smoothly and long stays in the stomach. The stomach contents can then go back into the esophagus and cause heartburn.

To make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor first takes on the medical history (history). To this end, he asks a few ask, for example:

The history closes usually a physical examination at. If the doctor suspects that a reflux disease is the cause of heartburn, it can a reflection of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum perform (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy Duodendoskopie). it can determine using these investigations, whether and to what extent the mucous membrane is inflamed in this area.

The so-called 24-hour pH monitoring offers the possibility, the acidity (pH) in the lower esophagus - and the reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus - measuring continuously for 24 hours. If necessary, further studies are useful for heartburn, such as an ultrasound (sonography) or an X-ray examination.

For the detection of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which infects the stomach lining and can also lead to heartburn, the doctor can make a breath test or the so-called Rapid urease test carry out. For this, a tissue sample is taken from the stomach lining and placed in a test medium. This turns red if an infection with the bacterium is present.

With heartburn, the therapy depends on the cause and severity of the complaints. If heartburn laying occurs, it can help turning up the head of the bed or use another pillow. Thus, the stomach acid can not easily move up into the esophagus during sleep.

at mild heartburn often it's enough of all those avoid food or just have to consume in moderation, leading to complaints. typical eating habits or food or drinks that encourage heartburn or cause, include:

Also, alcohol and nicotine should be avoided. In addition, it is recommended before going to bed only smaller meals to eat. Ideally, the last meal should have passed at least three hours before bedtime.

The effectiveness of home remedies not scientifically proven. But some people with mild heartburn report that help them teas, healing earth or almonds.

at frequent heartburn Drugs are within the scope of therapy often necessary to prevent it does not lead to further inflammation of the esophagus. Remains the esophagus inflamed permanent, the risk of developing a malignant tumor increases as (esophageal cancer). In order to inhibit the production of stomach acid, especially so-called proton pump inhibitors (e.g., the active ingredients pantoprazole or omeprazole) can be used. Alternatively, H2 blockers (such as ranitidine) and acid-binding agents (so-called. Antacids such as aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide) is possible.

If the reflux disease for the heartburn responsible, in some cases, surgery may be useful. A common surgical procedure is the fundoplicatio, wherein the upper portion of the stomach is placed in form of a collar around the esophagus and mouth sewn there. As the stomach fills with food, also fills the cuff, is characterized larger and closes around the esophagus the mouth. In this way, the sphincter supported become.

If the doctor diagnoses an irritable stomach, can help a therapy that aims to soothe the irritated stomach muscles and regulate the stomach movement. can be used, for example, so-called spasmolytics, which lower the voltage state of the smooth muscle in the gastrointestinal tract as well as prokinetic agents that promote the mobility of the digestive tract.

Is the heartburn a infectious disease (For example, Helicobacter pylori infection) based on the physician must treat them with antibiotics.

What to do with heartburn in pregnancy?
Pregnant women should advance to discuss with their gynecologist or family doctor, which means they may take for heartburn. It is especially important that pregnant women for example look forward to rest after eating with increased upper body, to take smaller portions and not too late to eat. Acid-binding foods such as oatmeal or almonds can be helpful.


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