Heartburn is such a common condition which many people associate with something they've eaten which is true in a lot of cases. However, for persistent heartburn sufferers, the problem goes a little deeper than that in fact, regular episodes, at least twice a week,could mean there may be something more serious going on.
Seeking the opinion of your doctor is a good first step but before we look at what you should discuss let's take a look at what constant heartburn symptoms mean.
Symptoms Of Persistent Heartburn
Persistent heartburn means you are experiencing symptoms at least twice week and means something more sinister could be at play. Heartburn is a symptom of GERD and other tell tale signs include:
- difficulty swallowing
- food travelling back into the mouth after swallowing
- burning chest pain
- coughing and sore throat
Obviously seeking medical advice is the best alternative because unchecked, more serious complications could arise. Acid rising back into the esophageal can lead to serious damage overtime. Constant heartburn not treated could result in ulcers in the esophageal or stricture which means the esophageal narrows over time. Worst case scenario may be developing Barrett's esophagus which in turn could result to esophageal cancer.
It's human nature to not want to change a routine, particularly if you are enjoying it and this is why many people treat heartburn as just a common ailment which will pass. But let me ask you this... when you are experiencing an attack don't you wish you had made an appointment to discuss the frequency of your attacks with him/her?
Remember, persistent heartburn at least twice a week and over a lengthy period of time unchecked could be really undermining your health. Your doctor can discuss and assess your condition and take the appropriate action. If you are still a little shy, try some lifestyle changes. Here's a few to get you started:
- Consider the food you eat and try to isolate the food which seems to always correspond with an attack. Eliminate it from your diet.
- Watch what you drink. Coffee or alcohol for example. See if a heartburn attack follows the consumption of one or the other or both. If it does, cut it out or moderate.
- Don't eat late night snacks particularly just before going to bed and preferably not within four hours of turning in.
- Watch your clothes...are they tight fitting? Bad sign for heartburn.
- If you r symptoms occur because of your sleeping position try elevating your head a few inches when you go to bed.
These are some common lifestyle changes normally associated with persistent heartburn and if you've tried them and your still experiencing frequent symptoms then you really should be seeing your doctor.
Persistent Heartburn Relief
If you suffer constant heartburn and are loathe to talk to your doctor, consider the risks without proper medical advice. Self diagnosis can be a dangerous past time particularly if the treatment methods used only treat the symptoms.
You have a number of medical medications available to you as apart from the common antacids, pump inhibitors and H2 blockers designed to prevent and neutralise acid production in the stomach, have proven effective. If your problem is a damaged esophagus then surgery options may need to be considered.