Heartburn is a common condition that is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone. It is caused by the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus, which can result in a painful and unpleasant experience. When heartburn occurs frequently or is severe, it can be referred to as constant heartburn. Here, we will discuss the symptoms of constant heartburn and the treatment options available.
Symptoms of constant heartburn
Burning sensation in the chest: The most common symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that can be felt behind the breastbone. This burning sensation is caused by the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.
Chest pain: Some people may experience a sharp pain in their chest that is similar to angina or a heart attack. This pain may be accompanied by a tightness or pressure in the chest.
Bitter or sour taste in the mouth: When stomach acid travels up the esophagus, it can cause a bitter or sour taste in the mouth. This can be especially noticeable in the morning or after a meal.
Difficulty swallowing: In some cases, constant heartburn can cause discomfort or pain when swallowing. This can be due to inflammation of the esophagus caused by the reflux of stomach acid.
Regurgitation: Some people may experience regurgitation of food or stomach acid, which can cause a sour or bitter taste in the mouth.
Hoarseness or sore throat: When stomach acid travels up the esophagus, it can cause inflammation and irritation of the throat, leading to hoarseness or a sore throat.
Treatment for constant heartburn
The treatment for constant heartburn depends on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause. Here are some of the most common treatments for constant heartburn:
Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your lifestyle can help reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn. This includes eating smaller meals, avoiding foods that trigger heartburn, and avoiding lying down or going to bed right after eating.
Over-the-counter antacids: Antacids can neutralize stomach acid, reducing the symptoms of heartburn. They are available without a prescription and can be taken as needed.
Proton pump inhibitors: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of medication that can reduce the production of stomach acid. They are available by prescription and are typically taken once daily.
H2 receptor antagonists: H2 receptor antagonists are a type of medication that can block the production of stomach acid. They are available over the counter and by prescription and are typically taken twice daily.
Surgery: In severe cases of constant heartburn, surgery may be recommended. The most common type of surgery for heartburn is the Nissen fundoplication, which involves wrapping the top part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to prevent the reflux of stomach acid.
Constant heartburn can be a painful and disruptive condition that affects many people. The symptoms of constant heartburn include a burning sensation in the chest, chest pain, a bitter or sour taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, and hoarseness or a sore throat. The treatment for constant heartburn depends on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause and can include lifestyle changes, over-the-counter antacids, proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor antagonists, and surgery. If you are experiencing frequent or severe heartburn, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.