Heartburn isn’t a mystical disease. The burning and pain in your throat and chest and throat, also known as acid reflux is caused by stomach acid leaking into your esophagus as per the US National Library of Medicine. It’s a fact that more than 60 million Americans suffer from it every month, with an estimated 15 million Americans experiencing it every day, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
The discomfort you feel in your chest should be obvious, right? It’s not always that easy. Sometimes, symptoms of acid reflux aren’t so obvious or are easily misinterpreted for something other. However, if left untreated heartburn can trigger serious problems, such as Barrett’s esophagus as an example that is a prelude to cancer, according to Timothy Pfanner, MD, an assistant instructor of medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine located in College Station.
This is why it’s crucial to determine the cause of heartburn. Then, take care of it with the assistance of your physician. To begin the process for you, here are TK symptoms–both normal and not as typical that could indicate acid reflux.
01 You have sharp chest pain
It is evident that the chest hurt is clearly a sure indication of heartburn, but it could be an indication of an attack on the heart. Many people confuse heartburn with heart attacks. Although you shouldn’t be diagnosing yourself, however, there are some methods to know whether your chest pain is a heart attack or related.
When you experience chest pain that is heart-related For instance it will appear more like the sensation of pressure or tightness in your chest. It may also extend to your back neck, neck, jaw, or even the arms. The symptoms can include dizziness, sweating, nausea as well as breathing problems, or an irregular heartbeat. The chest pain that is caused by heartburn, however, tends to be a more intense pain that could be caused through eating fat or spicy food and can be affected by changes in position (like lying down or bent over).
However, if you’re experiencing chest pains and you’re concerned, consult your physician to determine if you’re suffering from the possibility of a heart attack, suggests Walter J. Coyle, MD gastroenterologist working at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.
02 Your pain is worse when you lie down
Because heartburn is caused by stomach acid that leaks back into your esophagus. Your symptoms can get worse when you sit down or sit up. “If you’re sitting up straight, gravity helps keep food in the stomach,” says Dr. Coyle. “If you lose the gravity, you’re more prone to reflux.”
A quick fix? People who suffer from chronic heartburn tend to elevate their heads from their beds, which means they’re not lying entirely horizontally. Consuming meals prior to bedtime is also something to be avoided if you’ve got regular heartburn.
03 You have pain after eating
A throbbing pain that develops after eating, especially a large meal, often means that your stomach is overloaded and the contents are unable to move except up. However, there’s a fast solution: “I would stress not eating big, fatty meals and watching [your intake of alcohol and tobacco],” says Dr. Coyle, who is a spokesperson on behalf of the American College of Gastroenterology. (FYI that’s not the only reason to not eat before you recline.)
04 You have a bitter taste in your mouth
Sometimes, the acid in the stomach can be able to get to the back of the throat. This can leave an unpleasant pungent taste inside your mouth. In extreme cases, it can lead to choking.
If you experience this, particularly at night, you must see a physician. “I’m very aggressive with therapy if patients wake up choking,” says Dr. Coyle, adding that the majority of his patients are prescribed acid-suppressing medicines such as the proton pump inhibitors H2 blockers and anti-acids. (Dr. Coyle is on the Speakers Bureau for Takeda Pharmaceuticals which sells proton pump inhibitors).
05 You sound like you have a cold
It’s possible to think that you’re experiencing the beginnings of an illness when your voice cracks however, hoarseness could be another sign of heartburn.
When stomach acids are getting into your esophagus, it could affect the vocal cords, according to doctor Dr. Pfanner, who is also a gastroenterologist with Scott & White, in Temple, Texas. Watch out for when your voice is more husky than normal. If you notice it after having eaten it could be due to reflux.
06 Your throat is sore
A sore throat is a typical symptom of cold that could actually result from digestive issues.
If your throat seems to hurt during meals, you may be suffering from heartburn. In contrast to a cold or the flu, this type of sore throat could be persistent. If you don’t experience other symptoms, like sniffing or sneezing, you should consider acid reflux.
07 You have a nagging cough
Numerous respiratory signs like wheezing and chronic cough could also be caused by heartburn, which is likely due to stomach acid leaking into your lungs.
If you suspect heartburn is at the root of your breathing difficulties–possibly because it occurs immediately after eating–you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a pH test. This test involves an outside procedure that determines how much acid is present that is present in the esophagus during a 24-hour period. It will help you determine if you suffer from acid reflux.
08 Your asthma gets triggered—often
The wheezing and coughing of heartburn can be so intense that they can trigger asthma.
It’s not known however if frequent heartburn is the cause for individuals to suffer from asthma. While many people with heartburn also suffer from asthma, and reverse, the causes for this connection aren’t fully understood.
Experts believe stomach acid could cause the chest’s nerves to narrow your breathing tubes to prevent acid from entering. Another time, a simple test of pH to check to see if there is acid inside your esophagus can assist in getting to the root of the issue.
09 You feel nauseous after meals often
Nausea can be linked to various things it is sometimes difficult to determine if it is due to reflux. But, according to the doctor Dr. Coyle, “in some people, the only manifestation they have of reflux is nausea. If you have nausea and can’t figure out why one of the things [to] think about is reflux.”
If this is the case, an anti-acid medication such as an over-the-counter acid-countering medication can reduce the discomfort.
10 Your mouth fills with saliva suddenly
If your mouth suddenly produces more saliva and it’s possible that you have water brash. It can be an indication of acid reflux Dr. Coyle says.
It is a result of the same nerves, reflexes, and nerves as when you are vomiting. “It is your body trying to wash out an irritant in your esophagus,” he says.
11 You have trouble swallowing
In time, the constant cycle of healing and injury caused by acid reflux results in scarring as the doctor. Pfanner says. This results in swelling of the lower-esophagus tissues and results in an esophagus that is narrowed along with difficulty swallowing.