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RxLess > Health Conditions > Heartburn and GERD

Heartburn and GERD

What are Heartburn and GERD Conditions?

Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest shortly after eating. It may be made worse by lying down. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a chronic condition in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by acid from the stomach. Frequent heartburn may be a symptom of GERD.

What are the Symptoms of Heartburn and GERD?

Heartburn symptoms include:

  • A burning feeling in the chest that may last from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
  • Pain in your chest that gets worse when you bend over or lay down.
  • A burning feeling in your throat.
  • A hot, sour, acidic or salty taste in the back of your throat.
  • Difficulty swallowing.

GERD symptoms include:

  • Heartburn more than twice a week.
  • Feeling of a lump in your throat.
  • Burping that brings food or acidy liquid with it.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Pain in the chest or upper abdomen.

What Are the Causes of Heartburn and GERD?

Heartburn may be caused by ingesting acidic foods or those that are high in grease or fats. High stress levels may also contribute to this condition. Heartburn should go away on its own in a matter of hours or can be treated with over-the-counter antacids.

GERD is a chronic problem. It is caused by a weakening of the band of muscle that opens and closes to allow food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach. This weakening can be caused by:

  • Poor diet
  • Being overweight
  • Genetics
  • Binge eating
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking

Can Any Complications Arise if Left Untreated?

Untreated heartburn may lead to the development of GERD.

Left untreated, GERD is a progressive disease. The damage done by excess acid in the esophagus will continue to get worse, possibly leading to open sores and bleeding from the esophagus.

What Medications Treat Heartburn and GERD?

Heartburn can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications such as Antacids, H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors

Medications treat GERD include prescription-strength Proton Pump Inhibitors(esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole and dexlansoprazole) and prescription-strength H2 Blockers (famotidine and nizatidine).

Common medications may include

Gastrointestinal Prokinetic Agents - D2 Antagonist/5-HT4 Agonists
Used for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and diabetic gastroparesis
GI Acid Secretion Reducing Agents - Antisecretory Agents
Used for the long-term treatment of GERD
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