Heartburn is a symptom of Gastroesophageal reflux disease which is caused by acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Risk factors includes increasing the production of acid in the stomach. This pain will be felt like burning sensation situated behind the breastbone. It radiates to the back of the throat as well associated with waterbrash. It’s taste’s sour. It also includes the structural problems allows acid reflux into the esophagus. An esophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat with the stomach. It is lined by moist pink tissue called mucosa and is about 8 inches long. This runs behind the heart and windpipe in front of the spine. Symptoms are worsened after heavy meals and lying flat. Those pain may awaken from sleep. Few foods that we eat and drink stimulates increased stomach acid secretion. The irritants include few items namely:

  • Aspirin
  • Acidic Foods
  • Acidic Juices
  • Alcohol
  • Buprofen
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Naproxen

Consuming high fat content foods and smoking tends affecting the lower esophageal sphincter that causes to relax from the stomach. It allows acid to reflux into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia where a portion of the stomach lies within the chest instead of in abdomen that affects the way the LES works and is a risk factor for reflux. Its only when the LES fails that heartburn occurs. Pregnancy causes increased pressure within the abdominal cavity. Obesity may also cause increased pressure in the abdomen and that reflux same way. The diseases include sarcoidosis and scleroderma.

Heartburn Diagnosis:


Heartburn is common with other chest-related illnesses that includes Chest wall pain, Heart Attack, Pneumonia and Pulmonary embolus. The diagnosis starts with a complete history. This provides enough information for the health care professional for making the diagnosis.



Patients should swallow Gastrografin or barium while a radiologist using a fluoroscopy machine or X-ray that watches the contrast material travel down the esophagus and enters into stomach. This test determines if the esophagus muscles work in a rhythmic fashion looking aside for irregularities within the esophagus as well of the esophageal walls to push the contrast material into the stomach.



In this test a gastroenterologist uses a flexible scope and with a fiberoptic camera to look at the lining of the esophagus and stomach. Inflammation and ulcers can be identified. Biopsies and small bits of tissue can be obtained to look for cancerous cells.

Manometry and pH testing:

Once if conventional therapy has failed to confirm the diagnosis or when symptoms are atypical. By using acid measurements and pressure monitors within esophagus is helpful in making the diagnosis.

Heartburn Treatment:


This treatment changes your lifestyle, eat smaller, mostly avoid eating before bedtime, have more frequent meals. You must avoid aspirin, alcohol, caffeine, and ibuprofen. You should stop smoking and also use three pillows as it allows gravity to keep acid in the stomach so that it avoids acid reflux.

When to see a doctor:

If you get severe chest pressure or pain, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor especially when combined with other symptoms like pain in the jaw, arm or feeling difficult to breath. Chest pain may be a symptom of a heart attack. Take an appointment with doctor if you’re suffering with heartburn twice a week, while you’re unable to swallow, if you have persistent vomiting or weight loss due to difficulty in eating or poor appetite.


Heartburn is not without complications. Once if you ignore, and inflammation of the esophagus can lead to ulcers, which are small areas of tissue breakdown. These can cause serious bleeding. Scarring is other significant complications of GERD. Barrett’s esophagus is a kind of condition changing cell lining the esophagus which is associated with esophageal cancer’s increased risk.

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