Are you worried about a burning feeling in the chest, located behind or just below the breastbone? It can be concerning to experience these symptoms, especially because you don’t know the cause of the pain and discomfort.
Often, these symptoms occur because you are experiencing heartburn, also commonly called:
- Acid Reflux
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Upset Stomach
If you are having heartburn symptoms, then our office is here to help you find the right treatment. At iCare ER and Urgent Care, we provide both emergency services and common medical services in one location. Rest assured knowing that you always have access to a skilled medical team, but only pay ER prices when emergency services are required.
Causes of Heartburn
Heartburn is a health concern that affects millions of Americans. Sometimes, the symptoms are mistaken for a heart attack, which is a common reason why patients visit the emergency room. The truth is that heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. It is caused by stomach acid that travels out of the stomach and up the esophagus.
The esophagus is a tube that moves food from the mouth into the stomach. This tube is supposed to have a one-way flow, but there are times when the system malfunctions, and the stomach acid moves in the wrong direction.
Diet is often the cause of acid reflux, which leads to heartburn symptoms. Common foods that cause reflux include:
- Spicy foods
- Fatty foods
- Fried foods
- Tomato-based ingredients
- Onions or garlic
- Caffeinated drinks
- Carbonated beverages
Some of these foods relax the esophageal sphincter, which is a muscle that acts as a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. Other foods increase the level of stomach acid by taking too long to digest. Or, the reflux might be caused because of irritation that occurs to the lining of the esophagus.
Treatment for Heartburn and Indigestion
Your doctor might discuss dietary changes that can help to manage your heartburn symptoms. Additionally, lifestyle, behavioral, and physiological factors might need to be addressed that are contributing to your acid reflux:
- Eating too fast
- Eating too much
- Lying down after eating
- Certain medications
- Hiatal Hernia
Over-the-counter antacids can be used for temporary relief of indigestion and heartburn. If ongoing treatment is needed, then other options include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers. Your doctor might recommend prescription medications for treatment. In severe cases, sometimes surgery is recommended.
Is Heartburn Dangerous?
Most of the time, heartburn doesn’t pose an immediate threat to your health. But when the condition is left untreated, it can cause long-term health problems that damage your esophagus over time. Proper treatment is important to control the symptoms and help you avoid serious complications in the future.
It is important to consult with a doctor right away if the heartburn symptoms correspond with other symptoms:
- Pain when swallowing
- Weakness or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Unexpected weight loss
- Symptoms are more intense than normal
- Frequent heartburn flare-ups
- Increased duration of heartburn symptoms
- Chest pain
Since chest pain is also a symptom of heart problems, you should seek medical attention right away. Also, remember that there are times when heartburn is a symptom of other serious conditions, which is why it is important to talk to a doctor about your health concerns.
Talk to a Local Doctor
If you are tired of the never-ending symptoms associated with heartburn, then our staff is here to help you find the right treatment plan. We have a team of board-certified providers available for appointments throughout the week, evenings, and weekends. Call iCare ER and Urgent Care to learn more about available services: (214) 407-8668.