What is Heartburn – Important Information About Heartburn
Perhaps you have heard of heartburn before but you may be wondering, what is heartburn? It’s important that you know everything you can about this problem. Understanding heartburn, its’ symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatments, and more can help you to deal with this problem if it is something you are suffering from. Here is a closer look at heartburn so you are well informed.
First, it’s a good idea to answer the basic question, what is heartburn? Basically heartburn is a sensation of burning that occurs in the chest. Usually the pain is right behind the breastbone and it can get worse if you bend over or if you lie down. While having this problem on an occasional basis is probably nothing to worry about, it becomes an issue if heartburn begins interfering with your life on a regular basis. However, most people can usually change their lifestyle and use over the counter aids to help combat the problem.
Now that you know what heartburn is, it’s a good idea to know what the symptoms of this medical problem can be. One of the main symptoms is a burning type of pain that occurs in the chest. Usually this pain occurs at night or after eating. The pain usually worsens when you bend over or you go to bed.
Of course, if you are dealing with severe chest pain that comes with arm pain, jaw pain, or problems breathing, you need to get emergency medical attention right away. This may not be heartburn – it could be a heart attack. If you’re dealing with heartburn a couple times a week, you have trouble swallowing, or you continue having problems after using over the counter medications, you need to see your doctor.
What Causes Heartburn?
You already know the answer to the question, what is heartburn? So, what actually causes heartburn to occur? When stomach acid is able to back up through the esophagus, this causes heartburn to occur. When swallowing, the lower esophageal sphincter will relax so that liquids and foods can get through to the stomach. Then, it closes. If your esophageal sphincter weakens or it relaxes when it shouldn’t, it may allow stomach acid to come up through the esophagus, which is what causes the heartburn to occur. You’ll also find that there is a long list of drinks and foods that can often lead to a heartburn attack. Some of these drinks and foods include chocolate, fried foods, orange juice, alcohol, coffee, fatty foods, soft drinks, vinegar, tomato sauce, and more.
A variety of treatments are available for people dealing with heartburn. First, you’ll find that you have a wide variety of over the counter medications that you can try. You can find antacids that help to neutralize the acid in the stomach. Some medications may be available over the counter to help reduce the amount of acid produced. There are stronger medications that do the same thing that may be available as prescriptions. Proton pump inhibitors are available in OTC and prescription forms and they help to block the production of acid while helping to heal your esophagus.