Do not take heartburn lightlyOccasional heartburn is known to almost one in three people in this country. But in many cases the symptoms become chronic, i.e. they last for years. Then there is a risk of developing cancer.
A sharp, burning pain that rises from the upper abdomen toward the throat: 35 percent of those affected have such complaints regularly – at least once a week or even more frequently. It is especially bad after eating, when lying down, bending over, or physical exertion.
Typical symptoms of heartburn
When gastric juice rises into the esophagus, it causes pain and can promote cancer in the long run.
A strong burning sensation behind the breastbone is the leading symptom of reflux disease. Under certain circumstances, you may even have the feeling that you can no longer breathe. Because the esophagus lies close to the heart, sufferers often think that the pain originates there – this is why heartburn is also known as "heartburn" (heartburn) is called. Not infrequently Reflux concerning land as emergency with the suspicion on heart attack with the physician or in the hospital. Chest pain must indeed always be clarified – and until proven otherwise, it must be amed that a heart disease could be behind it. If, however, no indication is found during the examinations, then one should think of the stomach.
Belching, stomach prere or a feeling of fullness are common symptoms of reflux disease. Some people hardly feel any heartburn, but suffer from a cough or hoarseness in the morning or have to clear their throat very frequently. Difficulty swallowing, air swallowing and a bad taste in the mouth can also indicate the disease.
Diagnosis: mirror examination and acid measurement
The first step in a medical examination is to determine where exactly the pain is located and when it occurs. The lifestyle and dietary habits are asked, because they play a major role in heartburn. If reflux disease is suspected, a doctor will perform a gastroscopy of the esophagus and stomach to examine the esophagus for signs of inflammation, erosions, narrowing, and growths using a tube camera. If necessary, tie samples are taken in the process.
Internists can also perform a long-term acid measurement in the esophagus: With a so-called 24-hour pH-metry, reflux disease can be reliably diagnosed. Today, the measurement is usually performed without a catheter, i.e. without the need for a tube to be placed over the entire measurement time.
Cause of heartburn: Stomach acid attacks esophagus
The cause of the pain is the stomach acid. The esophagus is a muscular tube that transports food into the stomach. Once there, it is decomposed with the help of gastric juices containing highly corrosive hydrochloric acid. The gastric mucosa protects the stomach from the acid. However, if food pulp gets past the upper sphincter of the stomach and back into the esophagus, the stomach acid attacks the unprotected wall of the esophagus. This causes the burning sensation.
In the long run, the esophagus is damaged by the acid. Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis) can develop, which leads to ulcers and scarring if left untreated. A possible complication – in about ten percent of cases – is the so-called Barrett's syndrome, in which the tie of the esophagus undergoes an inflammatory transformation – a precursor to cancer.
Why stomach acid flows into the esophagus
Acute heartburn is often triggered by the stomach producing too much acid or emptying too slowly. After the meal, so-called "acid pockets" can form in the upper part of the stomach arise, which lie on the food mush. Lush, sweet, fatty or acidic foods, alcohol and caffeinated beverages have a negative effect.
Another reason for reflux of gastric juice is often a weakness of the sphincter muscle. Nicotine can reduce muscle tension, as can certain medications. Hormones can also reduce the tension, which is why pregnant women often have a problem with heartburn – in addition, the growing child presses on the stomach. Clothing that is too tight. Stress are other factors.
Prevent heartburn through proper diet
Relief is often provided by changing eating habits according to the anti-reflux plan. Important for heartburn: it is better to eat four to five small meals instead of two or three large ones. Also a lot of protein, for example dairy products, white meat, nuts or legumes. A high consumption of convenience foods. Fast food has a harmful effect. Those who often eat under stress are therefore doubly at risk.
Cravings for sweets can be banished by bitter drops: drizzle on the back of the hand, sniff – the appetite is blown away.
Natural acidity remedies
To protect the esophagus and stomach lining, a flaxseed infusion, a "KuKaLeiWa", can help-Contribute decoction or a chamomile rolling cure.
A digestive walk is a proven home remedy. Four hours before going to bed, one should then eat nothing more. When sleeping, like to elevate the torso a little higher. Smoking is a significant risk factor. Should be stopped at all costs. Overweight people relieve their stomach when they lose weight. It also makes sense to reduce stress – whether through exercise or a differently organized daily routine – and to wear clothing that is as comfortable as possible.
Treating heartburn with medication
If the mucous membrane of the esophagus has already undergone inflammatory changes, it may be necessary in individual cases to reduce the acid content of the reflux with prescription medication. Acid inhibitors, so-called proton pump inhibitors (PPI), are used for this purpose. Over-the-counter medications from the pharmacy either bind stomach acid (antacids) or interfere with the new production of stomach acid (H2 receptor antagonists). All these medicines are suitable however due to their not insignificant side effects only for temporary remedy.