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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis and indigestion are among the most common causes of heartburn and nausea. The symptoms for each of these conditions can be the same, but the cause of the symptoms can be linked to a variety of sources. Although heartburn and nausea are fairly common, these symptoms should not be dismissed entirely, especially when they are severe or persistent. It is always wise to consult a physician to rule out the possibility of an ulcer or another serious disease or condition.
Heartburn often is described as a burning sensation behind the breastbone in the upper center of the chest. It can also be felt in the throat and even in the jaw or back and arms. These symptoms tend to worsen when the sufferer is lying down or bending over. Heartburn sometimes is confused with the symptoms of a heart attack.
Nausea is a feeling of a need to vomit, which might be very mild and fleeting or more persistent. It does not always lead to vomiting. As with many health issues, both heartburn and nausea can worsen during times of significant stress or anxiety.
Indigestion is one of the most common causes of heartburn and nausea. In addition to heartburn and nausea, symptoms of indigestion can include bloating, belching, nausea and a feeling of fullness. Indigestion can be caused by poor eating habits, such as overeating, consuming too much alcohol or caffeine, eating spicy or fatty foods or smoking. In some cases, indigestion is caused by ulcers or an inflammation in the pancreas, gallbladder stomach.
GERD, also known as acid reflux disease, is another common cause of heartburn and nausea. In this condition, liquids from the stomach are regurgitated up into the esophagus. This can damage or inflame the esophagus lining. Acid reflux disease is considered an ongoing, chronic condition that likely will require lifelong treatment to control the symptoms.
Gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, also can cause of heartburn and nausea. Gastritis can be brought on by excessive drinking, stress or even Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria inside the stomach’s lining. Gastritis can lead to other health problems, such as ulcers or bleeding in the stomach if it is not corrected and monitored.
Other symptoms of gastritis are a loss of appetite, bloating, vomiting, hiccups and a burning feeling in the stomach. In severe cases, it can lead to vomiting blood or having dark stool. If blood is present with these symptoms, it is a signal that immediate medical attention is needed.
The treatment for indigestion, acid reflux disease and gastritis can vary, depending on the underlying causes. Sometimes, a change in lifestyle or diet will alleviate the symptoms. In other cases, symptoms are treated with medications and antacids, some of which are available over the counter.