By: Gemma Lagasca
Heartburn is a symptom, not a condition or disease, and it can be caused by: Eating certain foods (chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, and acid foods are common culprits). Having a hiatal hernia, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Medication side effects. The most common symptoms of heartburn include: A sour taste in the mouth that creeps up the throat.A feeling of burning in the chest.Pain in the throat or neck. Heartburn and Indigestion:
What’s the Difference? These digestive problems are often confused, but they’re not the same. You can have heartburn and indigestion together, and they may even feel similar, but they’re not interchangeable. Both heartburn and indigestion describe symptoms that occur after you eat, often from eating foods that tend to cause these symptoms and from the way that you eat — too much or too quickly.
Heartburn can be a symptom of indigestion, since indigestion is a collection of symptoms, but heartburn is also its own distinct symptom. Indigestion, on the other hand, isn’t related to stomach acid. Instead, it more often seems connected to emotional health and your state of mind — feeling stressed, nervous, or anxious seems to trigger bouts of indigestion, while feeling relaxed tends to prevent them. Indigestion — the medical term for which is dyspepsia — includes a number of symptoms and can often be a sign of some other health condition. There are a variety of heartburn drugs available over the counter to relieve symptoms. If these fail to relieve your symptoms, talk to your doctor about other available heartburn treatment options. He or she may want to evaluate you for gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Non-prescription medications used to treat heartburn and other mild GERD symptoms include:
Antacids for Heartburn
Antacids neutralize stomach acid to help relieve heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and stomach upset. They are also occasionally recommended to help relieve the pain of ulcers. Some antacids also contain simethicone, an ingredient that helps eliminate excess gas. Some antacids contain ingredients that can cause diarrhea, such as magnesium, or constipation, such as aluminum. Examples of antacids include:
• Alka-Seltzer – is an effervescent antacid and pain reliever
• Alka-2, Tums and Titralac – are Calcium carbonate antacids that can also be a supplemental source of calcium.
- Alternagel and Amphojel – are aluminum hydroxide suspension – oral
- Gaviscon – is an antacid treatment that contains alginic acid and sodium bicarbonate.
- Gelusil – is an antacid and antigas in the form of tablets
- Maalox –
- Milk of Magnesia
- Surpass Gum
You should take antacids exactly as directed by your doctor, or according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you are using the tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief. Serious side effects can occur with an overdose or overuse of antacids. Side effects include constipation, diarrhea, changes in the color of bowel movements, and stomach cramps.
Acid Reducers for Heartburn
There are two types of drugs that work to reduce the production of acid in the stomach: histamine antagonists (H2 antagonists or H2 blockers) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Examples of H2 blockers available over the counter include:
- Axid AR
- Pepcid AC
- Tagamet HB
- Zantac 75
The FDA has approved the proton pump inhibitors Prevacid 24HR, Prilosec OTC, and Zegerid OTC for over-the-counter use to treat frequent heartburn (more than two episodes per week) for 14 days. All of these drugs are also available in prescription strength. Take these drugs according to the directions on the package or as advised by your doctor. If these medications don’t relieve your symptoms, or if your heartburn symptoms get worse or persist for longer then a couple of weeks, you should see your doctor.
Possible serious side effects that need to be reported to your doctor right away include confusion, chest tightness, bleeding, sore throat, fever, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and unusual fatigue. Other, less serious side effects include mild headache, dizziness, and diarrhea, which are usually temporary and will likely go away on their own. Combination Antacid/Acid Reducer for Heartburn. There is only one drug of this type, Pepcid Complete. It combines the acid-neutralizing capability of an antacid and the acid-reducing actions of an acid-blocker drug.
Image Source: Thetimes