What Causes Heartburn?

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What Causes Heartburn?

Having frequent heartburn? Even though the name suggests it, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. (So much for another heart-related blog for American Heart Month.)

Heartburn is identified as an uncomfortable, burning pain felt in the chest and throat.

There are several factors that can cause heartburn, but it’s mostly a condition related to diet, aging, stress level or pregnancy. However, in some cases, heartburn is caused by a medical condition known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach.

Occasional heartburn is common among adults but having it consistently—more than twice a week—can signify an underlying problem. You may experience heartburn after you finish eating and even when you haven’t eaten. It’s certainly frustrating if the burning pain in your chest and throat starts to interfere with your daily activities.

Heartburn can cause foul-tasting stomach acid to flow up into your mouth when you bend over or lay down; something that can effectively prevent you from sleeping. Certain foods or drinks can trigger, extend, and even intensify heartburn for some people, such as coffee, sodas, alcoholic beverages, citrus fruits, onions, and spicy foods. Changing your diet and avoiding these foods and beverages may stop your frequent heartburn. You can also experience heartburn from taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, such as Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen, and some antibiotics. Fortunately, you can work with your doctor to manage these conditions to reduce or eliminate heartburn completely.

Heartburn is often resolved by making lifestyle changes and/or taking medication. If you experience frequent heartburn, be sure to speak with your health care provider so you can identify the root cause of your condition. GERD can worsen if left untreated.

For more information on what causes heartburn, click here.

Article written by William Graves.