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HEARTBURN
What is it?
Heartburn refers to a burning sensation beneath the breastbone
Symptoms: A burning sensation beneath the breastbone. Sometimes pain in the upper abdomen. Sometimes an acid taste in the mouth. Sometimes pain when swallowing.
Causes: Overindulgence in food and drinks, eating too quickly, Eating very rich, fatty or spicy foods, Pregnancy, Stress, Overweight, Other diseases for example hiatus hernia, gallstones, peptic ulcer.
Treatment in the home: Take an antacid or a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in water, don’t eat foods that bring on symptoms. Avoid coffee, rich, spicy and fatty foods. Limit alcohol intake, lose weight if you are overweight, eat regularly and don’t rush when eating, Don’t wear tight clothing, If you need to take a painkiller, avoid aspirin: use paracetamol instead..
Possible complications: Cause related
When to consult a doctor: If the symptoms are persistent or get progressively worse, If there is abdominal pain, vomiting, cough or weight loss.
What the doctor may do: Examine you to determine if the heartburn is caused by an underlying problem, if the heartburn is diagnosed, prescribe antacid, Arrange a diagnosis test
If an underlying disease is suspected. These may include X-rays of the stomach and duodenum or gallbladder or a direct vision examination e.g. gastroscopy

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