About heartburn

What causes heartburn? What causes heartburn?

What causes heartburn?

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Heartburn symptoms Heartburn symptoms

Heartburn symptoms

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Heartburn is a painful burning sensation you feel in your chest caused by acid reflux.

Acid reflux occurs when your stomach acid moves up into your esophagus, causing a burning pain in the chest (heartburn). This process can also lead to symptoms of acid reflux including heartburn in your chest and potentially in your throat, sour bitter-tasting regurgitation in your throat, bloating, burping, hiccups, nausea, wheezing, chronic sore throat and dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort in swallowing).

Heartburn is caused by the acid in your stomach rising up and into your esophagus. Food and certain beverages are the most common heartburn triggers. Your stomach may react to some foods by increasing acid production, slowing down digestion, or inhibiting the esophageal sphincter’s ability to prevent stomach contents from leaking back into the esophagus. Tomatoes, fatty foods, and coffee are among the usual suspects. Read more about heartburn causes here.

While what you eat can play a role in triggering heartburn, the foods that cause heartburn will vary from person to person. Common food types include spicy foods, acidic foods (such as citrus fruits or tomatoes) and greasy foods.

If you are experiencing severe or chronic (long-term) heartburn, you may have GERD. Talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms to establish treatment and potential lifestyle changes.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic (long-term) condition when people experience heartburn caused by acid reflux.

GERD is a broad term applied to patients with symptoms suggestive of acid reflux and complications arising from it. GERD in a person with symptoms fewer than two times per week with a short duration and relatively low pain is considered to be mild. A patient with more episodes in a week is classified as moderate to severe.

Increased levels of the hormone progesterone have the effect of relaxing the valve separating the stomach from the esophagus.  This can enable stomach acid to escape, irritating the esophagus and causing heartburn.

Later in pregnancy, as your baby takes up more room, this extra pressure on your stomach can also push acids up into your esophagus. Speak to your doctor before taking ZANTAC® if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Do not lie down or bend over soon after eating
  • Try to reduce stress
  • Raise the head of your bed
  • Avoid or limit foods such as: caffeine (coffee, tea, or cola drinks), chocolate, spicy or fatty fried foods and alcohol
  • If you are overweight, try to reduce excess weight
  • Do not eat large meals, late at night or before bedtime
  • Consider wearing loose fitting clothing around abdomen (stomach)
  • If you smoke, try to stop or cut down