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What is Heartburn?

May 30th, 2011

Heartburn is caused by stomach acids rising up in to the esophagus, also called reflux. It happens when the sphincter at the opening of the esophagus relaxes, allowing the acids that break down food in the stomach to come up. reasons for heartburnThis creates a burning feeling that, if left untreated, can eventually damage the esophagus. This type of chronic reflux is a serious problem that should be addressed. It can be so incredibly painful as to be nearly debilitating, interrupting sleep and making meals unpleasant.

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. A few of the symptoms, though, are comparable to those of heart disease or a heart attack. We will cover this in more detail in a different post.

Common Heartburn symptoms:

  • A burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours.
  • Chest pain, especially after bending over, lying down or eating.
  • Burning in the throat — or hot, sour, acidic or salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Feeling of food “sticking” in the middle of the chest or throat.
  • Heartburn may cause chronic cough, sore throat, or chronic hoarseness.

Heartburn can be brought on by numerous conditions and a preliminary diagnosis of Gastroesophogal disease (GERD) is dependent on additional signs and symptoms.

It also is common in expectant women, and may be triggered or caused by consuming food in large quantities, or eating certain foods containing certain spices, high fat content, or high acid content.

Infrequent heartburn isn’t dangerous, but chronic heartburn can point to severe problems and can progress into GERD. Unfortunately heartburn is a daily occurrence for roughly 10% of Americans and up to 50% of pregnant women. It’s an occasional nuisance for 30% of the population.


>>> What triggers Heartburn?

>>> What is the best Heartburn Remedy without resorting to prescription drugs?

>>> Is there any way to Cure Heartburn Permanently?