Heartburn happens when the acids in stomach break up into the esophagus, a muscular tube which assists to provide a path to food from mouth to stomach. As per the American College of Gastroenterology, almost 60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn. This condition is also named as acid reflux. Note that the symptoms of acid reflux may vary from person to person but it often includes some burning sensation in the chest area. Anyone ranging from children to older people including men and woman can experience heartburn but the chances are more in women.
Symptoms of Heartburn
The heartburn symptoms can be easily recognized by sufferers. The most common ones include a feeling of heat or warmth and burning sensation in the chest area.
Other symptoms of this disease are:
- Acrid and foul taste in the mouth.
- Burning sensation or some indigestion-like
- Rising pain that reaches jaw with time.
- Burning sensation in the middle portion of the chest.
Causes of Heartburn in Women
Chest pain or angina that happens due to lack of blood flow from heart usually cause heartburn. The chances are more when you are involved in some moderate or strenuous activity. In case if you have crossed the age group of 50 and are feeling heartburn for the very first time, this condition can increase suspicion of angina. The suspicions may also rise in younger patients when they are already suffering from diabetes, hypertension or have a long family history of heart diseases.
Gallstones are not always the prime cause of heartburn but the stone obstructing your bite can cause discomfort. It usually happens on the upper right side or middle of the abdomen. Pain associated with this condition may be dull, cramping, and sharp or may even strike hard right after you finish your meals.
If you have ulcers in the upper abdomen, they can cause burning, gnawing sensation. The pain caused by these ulcers usually cause discomfort in the chest area. It is possible to avail some relief from this ulcer related pain with simple acid suppressant medications. But in most cases, these ulcers lead to Helicobacter pylori, a kind of bacteria that cause inflammation in the stomach lining. In this case, you may need to complete the course of antibiotics to treat the infection. Note that, few anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin and osteoporosis drugs that are named as bisphosphonates are also responsible for causing stomach ulcers.
This condition arrives when a part of the upper stomach, instead of staying limited to the abdominal cavity, pokes out via diaphragm towards the chest cavity. In this state, your body can push stomach acid and food into the esophagus that leads to some irritation and burning sensation in terms of heartburn. Few other signs of hiatal hernia are known as nausea, belching and chest pain. In case if the heartburn condition in your body is due to hiatal hernia, there are chances that your doctor may recommend some acid-suppressing drugs. They may also prescribe few lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol, eating smaller meals and not consuming meal right before bed. If the symptoms are not controlled on time, there are chances to undergo some surgical repair.
Earlier, this condition was rare but within past few years, several cases of esophageal cancer have been reported in the United States. In case if you are suffering heartburn, there are chances that it happens due to esophageal cancer; however, chances are rare. In order to examine this condition, your doctors may follow upper endoscopy. People who drink or smoke heavily are often at risk of esophageal cancer.
If you are diabetic patient but maintain a poor control of this serious health condition, it may start affecting the normal operation of your digestive tract. This trouble is named as gastroparesis and it is responsible for slowing down the movement of food in the stomach region that ultimately leads to heartburn. Treatment may also include some dietary changes like eating smaller meals, ignoring medications, fiber, and fat. However, if you notice severe discomfort, doctors may insert a feeding tube or some implanted device into your body that can help to generate electric pulses for assisting stomach contractions.
It is well understood as inflammation of esophagus that is caused by frequent acid reflux. Experts reveal that this health issue can further lead to heartburn and at the same time it may cause some discomfort in swallowing. Those who consume osteoporosis drugs and painkillers more frequently can also suffer from inflammation of the esophagus. The chances increase when the pills are consumed without water as it makes them stuck in the esophagus region. Here is one more type of esophagitis that is also named as eosinophilic esophagitis and occurs when some white blood cells that are named as eosinophils occupy esophagus. Note that, this medical health condition is usually related to allergy so it is important to follow right treatment and precautions for offending foodstuff. In order to ease the inflammation, doctors may also recommend steroid medications.
Costochondritis or Pleuritis:
Costochondritis is determined as the inflammation of cartilage anchoring ribs including breastbone. It leads to severe pain in the sternum and breastbone area. This condition can be related to infection or injury as well. Medical health professionals recommend anti-inflammatory medicines along with some pain relievers to treat this issue.
Inflammation of lung’s lining and chest cavity is known as pleurisy or pleuritis and this health condition usually leads to some chest pain that appears like heartburn. It is important to seek immediate medical help if this burning sensation becomes unbearable during breathing. Pleuritis is generally happened due to some bacterial infections and viral infections but if you treat the infection on this, this issue can recover easily.
Although anxiety cannot cause GERD, there are chances of increased heartburn and worsening of GERD symptoms. Studies show that a patient can have both GERD related heartburn and anxiety related heartburn at the same time. In order to ease the heartburn, it is better to try some stress relieving techniques such as therapy, relaxation, and exercises.
Some hormonal changes in the female body can also provoke heartburn. Generally, these hormones try to provide relaxation to the valve present at the lower part of the esophagus that further helps to manage the digestive acids inside abdomen while producing the acid reflux. In some cases, the fluctuations in estrogen level may cause serious issues but usually, the trigger to heartburn is caused by progesterone hormone. Note that level of this hormone in the female body increases at the time of pregnancy so most of expecting mothers suffer heartburn and morning sickness. Some birth control pills that contain progesterone and estrogen may cause heartburn.
Another risk factor for heartburn is obesity or weight gain. A person with excessive abdominal weight is likely to face more pressure on the stomach that can reflect acids back into esophagus region. Some recent studies reveal that ladies that are obese and overweight are more likely to suffer acid reflux symptoms as compared to those with normal weight. It is possible to control frequency and intensity of heartburn episodes by following fixed routines for weight loss.
There are few medications that can trigger heartburn symptoms by causing irritation to the esophagus. Ladies that consume more medications usually suffer from esophageal irritation. It may happen with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications as like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen as well as due to the antibiotics that are used to treat urinary tract infections. Bisphosphonate drugs are often recommended to treat osteoporosis but they can trigger symptoms of esophageal problems. Some of the commonly observed offenders are ibandronate, risedronate, and alendronate. It is better to consult medical health professionals to prevent heartburn.
Studies reveal that some lifestyle choices that most women are adopting these days may also cause heartburns. It can be higher consumption of caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee that often trigger heartburn. Also, if you consume high-fat meal right before going to sleep, it may also cause the production of acid reflux. Other than this, heavy drinking and smoking are common causes of heartburn in ladies.
Possible remedies for heartburn in a woman
One of the most trusted treatments for heartburn is to control the unwanted production of stomach acids. Several lifestyle remedies can assist you to prevent heartburn such as:
- Keep a track of existing medications.
- Eat small meals; however, you can consume in multiple shifts.
- Stay fit by following fixed exercise routines.
- Reduce weight.
- Monitor triggers and make efforts to avoid them. For example, you may start avoiding eatables like orange juices, lemon, tomatoes, acidic food, soft drinks, gassy food, full cream milk, spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol etc.
- Avoid straining and heavy lifting.
- Do not eat before going to bed.
- Follow limited fat intake.