Heartburn is a sensation of burning, heat, warmth or pain that often originates in the upper part of the abdomen below the sternum. The discomfort can spread in waves upward into the throat and might trigger a sour taste in the mouth. The condition is not triggered by issues with the heart, but oftentimes heart issues might feel the same as heartburn.
It is important to note that heartburn can trigger issues with burping, nausea, swallowing, or bloating. These indications can last for up to 2 hours or even longer. In some instances, the symptoms might cause sleeping issues, asthma, chronic cough, wheezing or choking episodes.
What are the causes?
Heartburn occurs if food and stomach juices flow back into the esophagus. The usual causes of reflux include the following:
- Partial closure of the valve between the esophagus and stomach
- Foods and beverages such as peppermint, chocolate, fatty foods, fried foods, coffee, sugars, alcohol and carbonated beverages.
- Smoking and using other tobacco products
- Pressure on the stomach due to obesity, tight clothes, frequent bending and lifting, strenuous exercise, straining during bowel movements and pregnancy
- Hiatal hernia occurs once a small region of the stomach drives up via the diaphragm
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, iron, prednisone, potassium, sleeping pills and antihistamines
- Stress which increases the amount of stomach acid produced and allows the stomach to empty in a slower rate
The treatment for heartburn usually depends on the severity of the condition and other accompanying symptoms present. The treatment measures and medications that are available without requiring a prescription can relieve mild to moderate heartburn.
It is best to consult a doctor if the heartburn frequently occurs and home treatment could not effectively alleviate the symptoms.