Acid Reflux in Women May Be a Heart Attack

It’s a condition that affects many and concerns far too few. When acid reflux seems like it won’t go away, the results could be deadly for women who ignore the warning signs.

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See also how to recognize the the warning signs of heart attacks in women.

Nausea, heartburn, indigestion. All are common symptoms of a widespread condition many of us deal with. Acid reflux affects an estimated 60 million Americans at least once a month. And while it’s an equal-opportunity annoyance, women may not realize the root cause worsening theirs. And that could be deadly.

In its simplest form, the condition involves acid traveling up from the stomach and into the esophagus. It happens when stomach pressure is greater than the lower esophageal sphincter allows. When the barrier is broken and reflux occurs, symptoms like chest pain, heartburn, trouble swallowing and nausea are common. Acidic and fatty foods are major culprits, as are chronic conditions like hiatal hernia, obesity and gallstones.

Though women aren’t necessarily at a higher risk for developing acid reflux, certain gender-specific conditions can  worsen or prolong its effects. Pregnancy—and the anatomic mechanics that go along with it—is a common cause of reflux among younger women. As the uterus grows in the second and third trimesters, it pushes everything closer to the chest cavity. Progesterone has been shown to lower esophageal sphincter pressure, creating a weaker barrier between the esophagus and the stomach.

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