What is Heartburn?
Heartburn at Night – Heartburn is a painful and hot sensation in your chest. This condition can worsen when you lie down or look down. Heartburn can affect your daily activities and in some cases can be related to other health conditions.
How common is heartburn?
Heartburn is a common condition that can occur in patients of any age. Heartburn can be treated by reducing risk factors and lifestyle and drug changes. Discuss with the doctor for more information.
Signs & Symptoms of Heartburn at Night
What are the signs and symptoms of heartburn?
The common symptoms of heartburn are:
- Feel pain in the chest. This condition usually occurs after eating or at night.
- You feel heartburn when you lie down or look down.
There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have concerns about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.
When should I see a doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Extreme chest pain
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Heartburn occurs several times a week
- You cannot overcome the condition with over-the-counter medicines
- Nausea or vomiting
- A decrease in the ability to taste, causes weight loss
What causes heartburn at night?
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid which rises above (reflux) from the stomach to the esophagus. When you swallow food or drink, the muscle at the end of the esophagus will enlarge to push food into the stomach and close.
However, if the muscle is weakened or affected, stomach acid can return to the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Some foods and drinks that can increase the risk of heartburn at night, such as:
- Spicy food
- Foods containing citrus or tomatoes
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Pregnancy or obesity can also cause a higher risk of heartburn.
Medicine & Treatment of Heartburn at Night
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.
What are my treatment options for heartburn at night?
Heartburn at night can be treated at home with over-the-counter treatments, such as:
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid immediately
- H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RA) reduce the levels of stomach acid produced and relieve pain
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) such as lansoprazole and omeprazole
- If these drugs do not work properly, you should seek doctor’s help for further action. Sometimes, surgery is carried out in cases of heartburn that cannot be treated with intensive medical therapy and cause hoarseness, pneumonia, or wheezing.
What are the usual tests for heartburn?
Heartburn is diagnosed by examining your physical symptoms and medical history questions (when symptoms appear, are there family members with these conditions, etc.). Other tests include:
- X-ray: helps the doctor see the esophagus and stomach
- Endoscopy to check for esophageal disorders, so doctors can take tissue samples for analysis
- An ambulatory acid probe to detect the time and how long the acid is good to the esophagus
- Esophageal motility tests can measure pressure in the esophagus
Lifestyle to Prevent Heartburn at Night
What are the lifestyle changes or home remedies that can be done to overcome heartburn at night?
Here are lifestyle and home remedies that can help you deal with heartburn at night:
- Maintain weight, avoid obesity to reduce pressure on the stomach which causes acid
- Avoid wearing tight clothing that can put more pressure on the stomach
- Avoid the foods mentioned above as risk factors for heartburn at night
- Don’t lie down after eating, wait at least 3 hours
- Avoid eating before going to bed
- Eat less but often
- Lift your head while sleeping (use a pillow)
- Avoid smoking to keep the esophagus functioning properly
If there are questions, consult your doctor for the best solution to your problem.