Heartburn (Reflux) (cont.)

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Surgical procedures

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Laparoscopic surgical procedures are available to treat heartburn. This option is usually only chosen if lifestyle changes and medications have not helped.

Heartburn during pregnancy

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Pregnancy tends to aggravate heartburn because the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened during pregnancy. This weakened (LES) resolves after delivery of the baby. Pregnancy also distorts the organs in the abdomen and the increased abdominal pressure from the growing fetus causes heartburn. These changes promote the reflux of acid and heartburn.

Approximately 17% to 45% of women who become pregnant will suffer from heartburn.

Unfortunately there are no clear studies on the safety of heartburn medications on the growing fetus, and researchers are not going to test these drugs on pregnant women to evaluate how safe they are for the developing fetus, so the only option is to test these drugs on pregnant animals.

Management of heartburn during pregnancy consists of many of the same home remedies and lifestyle changes for a person with heartburn who is not pregnant (see previous section on home remedies and lifestyle changes).

How can heartburn be prevented?

The first step, as it is so often, is basic lifestyle changes. Stop smoking, lose weight, and watch what you eat (sounds familiar?).

If these interventions do not fully alleviate heartburn symptoms, then the addition of medications that decrease heartburn or prevent it all together, under the guidance of your health care professional, should allow you to control heartburn.

REFERENCES:

Anand R Kumar* and Philip O Katz. Functional esophageal disorders: a review of diagnosis and management. Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. July 2013, Vol. 7, No. 5, Pages 453-461.

NCBI. Juan C. Vazquez. Constipation, haemorrhoids, and heartburn during pregnancy. Clinical Evidence; 2008. PMC2907947.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/3/2014

Patient Comments

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Heartburn - Symptoms Question: What symptoms have you had associated with heartburn?
Heartburn - Causes Question: Discuss the causes of or reasons for your heartburn, including dietary, lifestyle, or medical.
Heartburn - Treatment Question: What treatments have you tried to relieve your heartburn?
Heartburn - Surgery Question: Did you require surgery for your heartburn? Please discuss your experience.
Heartburn - During Pregnancy Question: What home remedies or lifestyle changes did you make to ease heartburn symptoms during your pregnancy?
Heartburn - Triggers Question: What foods or activities trigger heartburn for you?

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