Heartburn feels like a burning sensation in the middle of the chest, just under the breastbone. Burning feeling in the chest may extend to the neck and throat. It may be very uncomfortable. It may be due to a variety of factors, including GERD, acid reflux, and even pregnancy.
If you have heartburn, you may experience a bitter or sour sensation in the back of your throat. Furthermore, if you have heartburn, you may have chest discomfort when you bend over or lay down. It may also be accompanied by suffocation that happens because of swallowing problems. Heartburn symptoms may range from a few minutes to many hours. It is normal to feel uncomfortable after a meal or if you sleep too soon thereafter.
Heartburn is a very common occurrence. However, if you have heartburn on a frequent basis, you should see a doctor since severe and regular heartburn could be an indication of an underlying diseased condition like GERD.
Lifestyle modifications are important to get rid of heartburn. These include eating a healthy diet and drinking beverages that are low in calories. Avoiding caffeine is also advised to get rid of heartburn. Medicines are also prescribed for heartburn relief in severe heartburn.
Patients who do not seek treatment for severe heartburn may have a risk of acquiring other health issues, such as esophagitis. Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the esophageal lining is abnormal, increasing your chance of developing esophageal cancer. It is treatable.
If persistent heartburn occurs, it may have a negative impact on quality of life. If you are experiencing difficulty continuing with your normal activities or if your activities have been substantially restricted because of heartburn, see your doctor and have a treatment plan.
When you eat, the food travels down a lengthy tube known as the esophagus that connects the mouth and stomach. The esophageal sphincter acts as a valve in the esophagus, allowing food to pass through. It is located towards the esophagus’s bottom. This valve opens to allow food to pass through and then shuts to prevent stomach contents from being pushed back up. Inside your stomach, a highly acidic combination begins the process of breaking down the food.
When the valve that divides the stomach from the esophagus fails to close properly, some of the acidic mixtures in your stomach may flow back up your esophagus. This is referred to as reflux. If you have reflux disease, you may experience a burning sensation.
Heartburn is a symptom of GERD i.e.“gastroesophageal reflux disease,” a disorder of the digestive system in which acid is generated. The acid from the stomach rises into the esophagus, causing discomfort. There may be a burning feeling behind the sternum or breastbone. A large quantity of food, leaning forward, or lying flat may all exacerbate symptoms.
The presence of a hiatal hernia may also result in heartburn. The diaphragm pushes a portion of the stomach up into the chest cavity. You may get heartburn because of this.
Other health conditions that cause heartburn symptoms include:
Certain diet and lifestyle choices may induce a sensation of burning heart. Following are the dietary components that may cause heartburn.
- Alcohol since it relaxes the muscle of esophageal sphincter
- Acidic juices like orange juice it trigger heartburn due to acidic nature
- Fried, fatty, acidic and spicy foods also lead to acid reflux chest pain, and heartburn
Pregnancy-related heartburn is a frequent symptom in pregnant women. The progesterone hormone may induce the lower esophageal sphincter to soften and relax. Consequently, stomach contents may migrate into the esophagus, irritating the mucosa, and cause heartburn.
Other variables that are associated with increased occurrence of heartburn include:
- Immediately lying down after consuming food
- Certain medications also trigger heartburn.
Heartburn is a sensation that you will describe to your doctor. The description of heartburn will help most providers identify it. They may not need to investigate if it is only sporadic or minor. However, if they feel you have a chronic disease, doctors may want to examine your esophagus for indications of damage. They may recommend you to a gastroenterologist or a GI tract specialist to diagnose you.
Heartburn symptoms can be relieved with medications such as:
Antacids are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that may cure moderate heartburn. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the quantity of stomach acid. H2 blockers are a medication that lowers stomach acid levels and may help mend the esophageal lining.
It’s worth noting that PPIs repair the esophageal lining and treat GERD symptoms more successfully than H2 blockers.
When To See A Doctor
If you have severe chest pain or pressure, get medical attention immediately, particularly if the pain or pressure is accompanied by additional symptoms such as jaw or arm discomfort or trouble breathing. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Heartburn more than twice a week
- Symptom persist despite the use of medications
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss because of inability to eat or eating issues
Anyone who has chronic heartburn should see a general physician. A healthcare expert may recommend dietary modifications and frequent exercise along with medicines. If a person is uncertain if they are having heartburn or a heart attack, they should seek medical care immediately.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about heartburn or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.