What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.

Heartburn is characterized by a burning sensation in your chest, immediately beneath your breastbone. The discomfort is frequently stronger after eating, at night, or when lying down or leaning over.
Heartburn is prevalent but not a reason for concern. Most people may control their heartburn symptoms on their own with lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter drugs.
Heartburn that is more frequent or interferes with your regular activities might be a sign of a more serious disease that requires medical attention.

What is heartburn?
Despite its name, heartburn doesn’t affect the heart. Heartburn is a burning feeling in the lower chest, along with a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth. It usually occurs after eating a big meal or while lying down. The feeling can last for a few minutes or a few hours.

Symptoms of heartburn
  • Heartburn symptoms vary. They may be slight or extreme. The severity of heartburn may depend on what and how much you have eaten. 
  • The main symptom of heartburn is a burning feeling in your throat and chest. This happens when the acidic liquid from your food or drink comes back up into your esophagus. 
  • You may have difficulty swallowing or choking on this acid. It may even make you hoarse or cough.

What causes heartburn?
  • When you eat, food passes from your mouth down a tube called the esophagus. The esophagus is about 10 inches long in most people. To enter the stomach, the food must pass through an opening between the esophagus and stomach. 
  • This opening acts like a gate to allow food to pass into the stomach. Usually, this opening closes as soon as food passes through. But if it doesn’t close all the way, acid from your stomach can get through the opening and into your esophagus. This is called reflux. 
  • Stomach acid can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn.
  • Hiatal hernia also can cause heartburn. Hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach is pushed up through the diaphragm (the muscle wall between the stomach and chest) and into the chest. Sometimes this causes heartburn.

When should you visit a doctor?
Chest discomfort might be a sign of a heart attack. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience significant chest pain or pressure, especially if it is accompanied by arm or jaw discomfort or difficulties breathing.
  1. More than twice a week, you get heartburn.
  2. Symptoms continue despite the use of over-the-counter drugs.
  3. You are having difficulties swallowing.
  4. You are experiencing persistent nausea or vomiting.
  5. You are losing weight as a result of a lack of appetite or difficulties eating.

Risk elements
Some meals and beverages can cause heartburn in some people, including:
  • Foods that are spicy
  • Onions
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomato condiments, such as ketchup
  • Foods that are fatty or fried
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate
  • alcoholic drinks, carbonated beverages, coffee and caffeinated beverages
  • Meals that are large or fatty
Being overweight or pregnant might also raise your chances of getting heartburn.

Heartburn that occurs regularly and disrupts your routine is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD therapy may include prescription drugs as well as surgery or other treatments. GERD can severely damage your esophagus or cause precancerous alterations known as Barrett's esophagus.

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