Don’t let heartburn control you life.
What You Need to
What is Heartburn?
Hearburn is a common condition
also known as acid indigestion. It is
generally expressed as a feeling of
burning in your throat (esophagus)
or mid-chest. In more severe cases,
health professionals refer to heartburn
as GERD (gastroespohogeal
reflux disease) or acid reflux.
Do I have Heartburn?
Heartburn effects approximately 25 million Americans
every day. An estimation of 50 million Americans
experience it more than once a week.
Incidence of heartburn among pregnant women
ranges from 45% to 85% and as many as 25% of pregnant
women experience heartburn everyday.
What are the Signs and
NOTE: If signs and symptoms are
severe and chest pain lasts more
than a few minutes seek medical
-Sharp burning sensation in the throat or mid chest
-Chest or Abdominal Pain that does NOT generally
radiate to shoulders or arms
-Rarely accompanied with lightheadedness or shortness
-Bad breath, coughing, wheezing and hoarseness
may also occur
University of Florida College of Pharmacy
What Causes Heartburn?
Heartburn is when acid in the
stomach flows backwards, or refluxes,
into the esophagus. Stomach
acids are not meant to reach
the throat and the tissue there can
become irritated or damaged by
the corrosive acids. Your body has
two ways to regulate this problem.
(1) a valve, or sphincter, that
keeps the acids out of the throat
and (2) regulates the acids produced
in the stomach. These 2
controls can be compromised by
Diet-Eating spicy foods, peppermint,
chocolate and fatty foods
Positions– Bending over or lying
down, especially within 2 hours of
Medical-pregnancy, hiatal hernia,
certain medication (ask your pharmacist),
Lifestyle-Being overweight, smoking,
hectic lifestyle, stress, tight
Some causes are more serious
than others. GERD
(gastroesophageal reflux disease)
can contribute to other medical
conditions if left untreated, so
medical attention may be required.
Heartburn can be confused
with stomach ulcers, which may
need medical attention from a
Don’t get burned by heartburn.
What Can We Do?
How Can I Prevent Heartburn?
Heartburn sufferers, there is hope. A significant reduction
in the severity and frequency of symptoms can be
accomplished with certain prevention strategies. You
can modify your risk for heartburn by changing the food
you eat and the things you do.
Certain foods make heartburn symptoms worse or occur
These foods are called trigger foods. While some things
might be triggers for one person, they may not be triggers
for another person. Triggers can be
highly individualized, so it is important
to know what foods affect YOU. Keep a
log of the foods that affect you the most
and do your best to avoid these foods.
Common Trigger Foods…
Aside from changing your diet, there are many other
modifiable lifestyle behaviors that can help alleviate or
even prevent heartburn.
Avoid laying down after eating for at
least 2 hours
Wear loose fitting clothes
For more information please visit…
The National Heartburn Alliance
Digestive Health Foundations www.gesa.org.au
Images provided by: jupiterimages.com,
University of Florida College of Pharmacy
How Can We Treat Heartburn?
Heartburn prevention is key to reducing the
frequency of these occurrences. If symptoms
persist, there are a variety of over-thecounter
treatments available. All of these
heartburn treatments help to reduce stomach
acidity. Selection of a specific treatment
may depend on frequency and severity
of occurrences. Here are the main treatment
options for over-the-counter heartburn.
Antacids – help to provide fast relief of
symptoms by neutralizing acid secretions
in the stomach
Bismuth Subsalicylate – not only acts as an
antacid, but also has anti-inflammatory
actions and works as a mild antibiotic
H-2 Antagonists – decrease the amount of
acid the body releases into the stomach
Proton Pump Inhibitors – directly block acid
production & for people who do not
respond to other treatment.
REASON TO REFER TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR…
Symptoms >3 months duration, while taking
recommended dosages of medications
for more than 2weeks
Severe or nocturnal heartburn
Pregnancy or nursing mothers
Alarm symptoms (dysphagia, choking,
chest pain, GI bleeding, weight