Be Aware of Heartburn Symptoms

It is known that heartburn symptoms are sometimes confused with indicators of other problems. If you're frequently suffering from heartburn, it may pay to know the symptoms.

A burning sensation in your chest, often accompanied by a bad taste in your throat are two of the most common heartburn symptoms. These light, infrequent occurrences can usually be treated with many over-the-counter antacids. However, gastroesophageal reflux disease has these same heartburn symptoms and a few more.

There may be trouble swallowing, wheezing or difficulty breathing and gas or bloating after meals. These are heartburn symptoms, which may also indicate a more severe episode of heartburn. Frequent and severe cases of heartburn may be indications of other problems and if left untreated can lead to burns, or ulcers, in the esophagus or even a narrowing of the esophagus making swallowing extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you take prescription drugs for other ailments, it is wise to visit your pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter heartburn medications. Your pharmacist will know, or can find out, what medications you are taking and how they will react with different heartburn medications. Since some of the interactions can be dangerous, this is a good first step.

Those suffering from heartburn symptoms for more than two weeks should contact their physician for the possibility of being switched to prescription level drugs to help with their suffering. Your doctor may find you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or a hiatal hernia and a different course of medication may be needed.

A hiatal hernia is a loosening of the lower esophageal sphincter and also is detected by heartburn symptoms, although usually more severe. Further testing will be required to accurately diagnose this condition, but the heartburn symptoms can often lead to this discovery and then to a cure. There are specific treatment and drugs to help while a hiatal hernia heals.

When you suffer heartburn symptoms it may be a good idea to keep track of what you were doing just before they began. The type of foods and drinks being consumed, how much and how often and time of day, especially if it was just before bedtime. Perhaps the heartburn symptoms only surface when lying down or bending over or perhaps there's a physical reason. By tracking your actions you can determine what triggers an attack and possibly avoid those triggers to reduce the heartburn symptoms from recurring.