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Heartburn (Acid Reflux)

👤by MedicineNet.com 0 comments 🕔Friday, August 5th, 2016

Heartburn is a common cause of a burning sensation in the chest and chest pain. Heartburn can be associated with symptoms such as:

a sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, hoarseness, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.

Heartburn facts

Heartburn is a feeling of burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux or GERD. People experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages. Symptoms of acid reflux that may accompany heartburn include: difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, stomach pain in the upper abdomen, persistent sore throat, regurgitation of foods or liquids with a taste of acid in the throat, and persistent hoarseness or laryngitis. Diet and other lifestyle changes can alleviate heartburn for many people. Heartburn is more common during pregnancy.

What is the definition of heartburn?

Heartburn is a sensation of burning in the chest caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (food pipe). The burning is usually in the upper and central part of the chest, just behind the sternum (breast bone). The burning can worsen or can be brought on by lying flat or on the right side. Pregnancy tends to aggravate heartburn.

Many people experience heartburn and there are a large number of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and home remedies available to treat heartburn or the symptoms of heartburn.

In most cases you will not need to see a health-care professional, except if the symptoms are frequent (several times a week) or severe.

If heartburn is severe or the pain is accompanied with additional symptoms such as shortness of breath, radiation into your arms or neck, you will need to see a doctor to distinguish these symptoms from more serious medical conditions such as a heart attack.

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a chronic and more serious form of heartburn.

If your heartburn symptoms occur more than twice a week you should see your health-care professional to make sure no serious problems are present.

What causes heartburn?

Readers Comments 3 Share Your Story

The esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to the stomach) has a tight band of muscles at the lower end (lower esophageal sphincter [LES]) that closes after the food enters the stomach and prevents the stomach contents to reenter the esophagus. If this sphincter weakens or relaxes at the wrong time, stomach acid can back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

What does acid reflux look like?

Acid reflux or GERD

Picture of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn)

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2016

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