Suffering from occasional heartburn is nothing to be alarmed about, but when you experience this daily or several times each week, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Chronic heartburn is not only frustrating and uncomfortable, but it can also lead to other problems. With the right treatment, you may be able to prevent getting heartburn daily, and this will help you protect your esophagus.
What Causes Heartburn?
Some people will get heartburn simply from eating the wrong foods. Any type of food that is acidic can cause this, and this includes tomato-based foods, citrus fruits, and alcohol. Other people though will get heartburn every day, no matter what they eat or drink. When this happens, it is called chronic heartburn, and this is a condition that should be checked and treated by a medical clinic.
Chronic heartburn irritates the esophagus, and this occurs when stomach acid seeps up the esophagus. When this happens often, it can cause damage to the esophagus, and this often happens when chronic heartburn turns into gastroesophageal reflux disease (also called acid reflux).
What Can You Do For This?
If you are beginning to experience heartburn more frequently, there are things you can try to control this problem. Here are a few of the at-home methods you can try if you develop chronic heartburn:
- Avoid certain foods – You should avoid foods that are high in fat and acid, and you should also avoid chocolate and spicy foods.
- Chew gum – According to WebMD, chewing gum may help you find relief for heartburn. This occurs because it helps you produce saliva, which stops acid from coming up. It also helps because you swallow more, and this may help keep the acid down.
- Take antacids – You can purchase daily antacids to take to treat your heartburn, and you can also purchase chewable tablets to consume when you feel heartburn coming on. Antacids neutralize the acids in your stomach, and this often relieves the pain and discomfort.
If you try these methods and are still having problems, it might be time to see a doctor. This is not a condition that should be left untreated, and your doctor will help you find a way to control the symptoms and avoid further problems.
What Can A Doctor Do?
Your doctor will analyze the severity of your condition before taking any action, and this will include finding out what treatment options you are currently using. If over-the-counter medications are not working, your doctor may prescribe a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). This is a newer type of treatment option that offers effective results.
Many people using PPIs find relief from their chronic heartburn, and this is often the only form of treatment needed. If this does not help though, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are several types of surgical procedures doctors can use to treat this problem, but surgery is generally the last resort. It is only used when all other treatment options fail.
One of the surgical options used for this involves wrapping part of the upper stomach around the esophagus. This causes tightening to the esophagus and helps the acid work its way down easier. If the acid can work its way down and stay there, the symptoms of heartburn will disappear.
Living with chronic heartburn is frustrating and can lead to a loss of sleep and other problems. If you are tired of living like this and have tried everything you can, you should make an appointment at a medical clinic. It is better to be safe than sorry, and leaving this condition untreated can lead to major problems.