Causes, Symptoms and Complications of Pyrosis

May 25, 2012

There are times when good foods cannot be considered as good things, especially if you are suffering from heartburn or
pyrosis. Everyone may have already experienced the pain brought by the condition and this is often due to the consumption of sumptuous meals. Pyrosis affects almost 40% of the world’s population, however, you should know that this condition has nothing to do with the heart and is more of a digestive problem.

Pain due to pyrosis can be felt right behind the breastbone. Patients often report that the pain feels like the chest is on fire. There are some times when the pain can be felt in the mid-line of the back. However, pain due to pyrosis is not the only type of pain that can be felt in the heart. Angina is another type of chest pain and this is due to the temporary shortage of oxygen in the blood to the muscles of the heart. In case the pain spreads to both arms, this could be due to a heart attack.

Pyrosis conditions usually occur due to the back flowing of the acid within the stomach to the esophagus, also known as reflux. Right at the bottom of our gullet, you can find a muscle which contracts to prevent stomach acid from going back to the esophagus. In case this muscle fails to function properly, reflux may occur. The stomach is covered with a protective lining that keeps the acid from burning it but the esophagus does not have any protection.

When the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid, it can be painful and the esophagus may become inflamed. Consuming large quantity of foods is not the only reason why an individual suffer from pyrosis. Take note that the condition may occur whenever stomach acid becomes in contact with the esophagus. Other known causes of heartburn or pyrosis include excessive bending down, smoking, and wearing tight clothing and pregnancy. The condition can also be due to hiatal hernia.

Heartburn or pyrosis alone is not life threatening, however, untreated severe pyrosis can lead to various complications, such as acid reflux disease, that can cause the esophagus to become constricted and scarred. Difficulty swallowing lumpy foods can be due to pyrosis and severe cases of the condition may result to several complications. One common complication is esophagitis. This is the condition where the esophagus becomes inflamed, thus resulting to esophageal bleeding or ulcers and this may occur due to the excessive exposure of the esophagus to the acid from the stomach.

Another common complication is Barrett’s esophagus. Changes in the cells of the tissue that lines the bottom of the esophagus may occur and this will result to increased risk of developing cancer. Lung problems may also develop when pyrosis causes the fluid from the stomach to overflow and reach the breathing tubes within the lungs. That is the reason it is necessary to find immediate relief for the condition, especially if the patient is experiencing pyrosis attacks twice or thrice in a week.

Several preventive measures can be adopted to help an individual reduce pyrosis attacks. One important thing that should be remembered is that certain foods and beverages can greatly increase the risk of having a reflux, which means these foods and beverages should be avoided or consumed moderately. These include alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate, tomato and other tomato-based products, fatty and spicy foods.

Individuals experiencing pyrosis or heartburn symptoms should practice consuming smaller meals frequently, since a full stomach is considered as a precursor of the condition. It is also necessary to avoid going to bed after having a meal in order to prevent an attack. Smoking is another common cause of pyrosis, as nicotine can relax the LES, thus causing it to fail on its purpose. When sleeping, it is also necessary to keep your head elevated and avoid keeping it aligned with the stomach.

Some individuals also resorted to pyrosis or heartburn remedies when an attack occurs. Some prefer the intake of antacids to relieve the condition. This type of medication works by forming a protective layer over the stomach lining. Another option is the consumption of a medication that can prevent the excessive production of acid within the stomach. However, this type of medication should only be consumed for severe cases of heartburn and under a physician’s supervision.

In extreme cases of pyrosis, surgery might be recommended, especially if hiatal hernia is the root cause of the condition. In a surgical procedure for the correction of hiatal hernia, the surgeon will stitch a few centimeters on the upper portion of the stomach and around the esophagus in order to prevent heartburn attack. Then again, surgical procedures are usually the last resort when it comes to this condition and should only be performed after a thorough diagnosis or in case medications fail to relieve the condition.

One common mistake that pyrosis patients usually make is to ignore an attack. Since the condition is uncommon for some, individuals afflicted with it usually opt for a rest while having an attack and wait until it goes away. However, some individuals often do the same even when they are already having a heart attack, thus resulting to fatal outcomes. To prevent this, make sure that the condition is diagnosed and that you are fully aware of its symptoms to rule out heart condition with almost similar symptoms. For pyrosis or heartburn during pregnancy, consultation with the physician is necessary.

7 Responses to Causes, Symptoms and Complications of Pyrosis

  1. Oliver says:

    I’m doing a research on pyrosis. I wasn’t even aware that pyrosis and heartburn are the same. I already experienced heartburn and its not nice at all. Knowing the complications that can be associated with it scares me to death now. Glad to have found this website. Seems like I’ll be done with my research earlier than I thought.

    • Dorica Lopez says:

      Good luck on your research Oliver. Feel free to contact us if you need any help with it. Keep on browsing our site.

  2. Sam says:

    It scares me to death that heartburn can be serious and might require surgery. I usually just ignore the attacks, but now, I need to move and really do something about it. I don’t want to reach that point.

    • Dorica Lopez says:

      Consult a doctor if it worries you and if the attacks are frequent. They’ll be able to diagnose you better and give you options that you can try.

  3. Anna says:

    So confusing between heart attack. I don’t know how to know the difference. But I sure hope that it’s just heartburn. Heart attacks can be fatal and kill you instantly. Heartburn can be remedied.

    • Dorica Lopez says:

      Yup. That’s right. Rather be a heartburn than a heart attack. But better yet, not any of them Good luck.

  4. Pingback: Is Heartburn at Night Dangerous? |

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