Bloating with Heartburn Could be a Sign of a Serious Condition

Bloating with heartburn is a sign that something in the digestive system is not working as it should. It may be a symptom of chronic acid reflux, a gastrointestinal infection, or a number of other commonly diagnosed digestive issues. Bloating with heartburn may also occur simply because the stomach is too full or because of an “off day” in the intestines. At the core of the problem, we experience these two symptoms for simple reasons.

Bloating is caused because of too much air (gas) in the stomach or somewhere in the digestive system. Heartburn symptoms are caused by acid reflux when the acids in our stomach make their way into the esophagus. Heartburn with bloating is common on occasion and shouldn’t warrant a trip to the doctor if it occurs infrequently or goes away with at-home treatment. The symptoms may also be caused by a serious condition which needs medical attention – especially if the symptoms persist for two weeks or are aggressively becoming worse even though you haven’t changed anything about your routine.


Some Conditions cause Chronic Bloating with Heartburn

Bloating with heartburn may be a symptom of a serious or significant digestive issue, though this isn’t always the case. Underlying conditions that cause this symptom are typically discovered by a doctor after numerous attempts to remedy the problem with over the counter medications and other remedies. Because nausea with heartburn can occur simply because we have eaten something too spicy or eaten too much, it’s easy to miss the signs that something else could be wrong. However, it is important to recognize that there are typically multiple symptoms that should be connected when there is an underlying condition at play.

If you experience heartburn with nausea daily and you do not intend to change your diet and lifestyle to accommodate acid reflux, or if the changes you have made do not seem to be working, you should seek a prescription from your doctor to prevent damage to your esophagus. Over time, a damaged esophagus can lead to serious problems including esophageal cancer.

You should also consider a doctor if you are experiencing any of the following serious symptoms in addition to heartburn with bloating:

  • The feeling that you are choking
  • Bleeding or coughing up blood
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Unable to eat enough food without feeling too full
  • Loss of appetite and\or weight loss
  • Difficult or painful swallowing

One of the most common conditions known to cause chronic bloating with heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD symptoms may also include sore throat, coughing, difficulty swallowing or a feeling that something is stuck in the throat behind the breastbone. GERD is treatable through diet and lifestyle changes, as well as over the counter and prescription medications. (The treatment for heartburn with bloating is similar for each type of underlying condition and is explained in further detail in the next section.)


Be Aware that Occasional Bloating with Heartburn is Normal

Though these conditions may seem like significant reasons for concern, one should not assume the worst. Since bloating with heartburn is often caused by some fairly common conditions like temporary acid reflux or over-eating, it may be best to take a simple approach at first. If you are unsure of why you are experiencing bloating with heartburn and it doesn’t happen very often, you may immediately benefit from a natural remedy or antacids. Avoid lying down or bending over and loosen your clothing until the symptoms subside. Bloating with heartburn will begin to fade as the offending food is cleared through the digestive system. Just be aware that some foods will cause systematic symptoms, e.g. bloating with heartburn can fade in abdominal cramps and diarrhea if you have consumed a food to which you are sensitive.

Whether you have a known gastric condition or you just feel bloating with heartburn after eating certain meals, it is in your best interest to investigate the items that may be triggering these feelings. The foods and drinks that cause temporary bloating with heartburn can also aggravate a serious condition, so the following tips are a great way to deal with the symptoms regardless of the underlying cause.

  • Avoid Over-Eating – A stomach that is too full will obviously cause the stomach to stretch the feeling of bloating. With heartburn as a symptom, it’s the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that has been stretched. This prevents the esophagus from closing and allows acid to enter.
  • Avoid Eating Spicy or Fatty Foods – Spicy foods prompt more acid production and fatty foods slow down the digestion process. Together, these types of foods can cause heartburn that lasts for a few hours or more.
  • Avoid Citrus Fruits, Carbonation and Caffeine – Drinks like tea and coffee or beer and sodas cause gas and acid production that lead to bloating with heartburn.
  • Avoid Chocolate, Alcohol, and Mint – These items relax the LES so that acid can easily enter the esophagus.

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  3. Are Heartburn and Upper-Back Pain Normal with Acid Reflux?
  4. Heartburn and Gluten Intolerance: Preventing Celiac Heartburn
  5. Heartburn and Jaw Pain: Signs of Heart Problems?