What is Heartburn?
Let’s take a look at the definition of heartburn and the causes and symptoms behind it that may be affecting your life today. Heartburn is known by many names including pyrosis, cardialgia, and acid indigestion. Studies have shown heartburn affects over 60 million people in the United States every month. Although the name is misleading, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart? In fact heartburn occurs in the esophagus and is most commonly felt in the chest area. Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in the esophagus which is caused by acid in the stomach which refluxes or simply comes up out of the stomach and into the esophagus.
This is caused by a muscle value known as the the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is located between the stomach and the esophagus. The LES opens and closes to allow food into the stomach. During this process the stomach begins to release strong acids for breaking down the food, however if the LES opens too often or is unable to close completely, stomach acid can reflux into the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Common Causes of Heartburn
Studies have shown that the most common cause of heartburn in virtually every case is diet. The foods most commonly linked to heartburn include: citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato sauces, chocolate, peppermint flavorings and spicy foods. The drinks most commonly linked to heartburn include: alcoholic beverages such as red wine and caffeinated beverages.
Another cause of heartburn is constant pressure on the stomach. For this reason many people who are obese suffer from this condition. Additionally 50% of pregnant women experience recurrent heartburn due to the weight of the baby on there stomach.
Gastroparesis diabetes, a medical condition that is a common cause of diabetes can also cause heartburn. Gastroparesis is commonly referred to as having a weak stomach, it is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty and leading to regurgitation into the esophagus (causing stomach content to move into the esophagus).
A condition known as hiatal gernia is when a portion of the stomach procures into the esophagus and allowing the stomach to back up and cause heartburn.
Symptoms of Heartburn?
Heartburn is more commonly felt in the chest area right behind the breast bone and it may even spread up into the neck area. However it does vary for each individual. Symptoms include burning in the throat, trouble swallowing and/or feeling of food sticking to the chest or throat. Occasional heartburn may cause chronic cough, sore throat and/or a hoarse voice most commonly at night.
If you are currently struggling with heartburn we hope you will find the information on this website useful. Also feel free to look at our list of the common treatments that may instantly relieve your heartburn. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via contact form or email.