Have you ever eaten something spicy or greasy and felt like your chest was burning? Or maybe you have a strange tickle in your throat that won’t go away? Chances are, you’re experiencing heartburn.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn happens when your stomach produces too much stomach acid. This corrosive liquid can leak into your esophagus and irritate your throat. Unlike your stomach, the esophagus does not have a protective mucus coating. And since stomach acid is extremely strong, that burning feeling you feel is the acid, literally, burning your esophagus. Hence, the name “heartburn.”
How Do I Treat It?
If you only experience heartburn when you eat certain foods, the easiest remedy is to avoid those foods. Usually, things like chocolate, coffee, tea, sour fruits, greasy foods, and spicy foods cause heartburn. You can also take Tums or other antacids. However, if your heartburn is persistent and happens more than a few times a week, it might be time to think about seeing a doctor.
Acid Reflux and GERD
You’ve probably heard of acid reflux and GERD. Both of these are the same condition, though GERD is the severe form of acid reflux. People who have acid reflux or GERD experience constant heartburn. These conditions require monitoring and treatment. If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to esophageal lesions and cancers.
Other Contributing Factors
There are other conditions that might cause you to experience heartburn. For some people, stress and anxiety can trigger acid reflux. Drinking too much alcohol, being pregnant or being overweight are also possible causes. If you’re unsure what is causing heartburn, talk to your doctor. He/she may be able to prescribe medication that lowers or blocks stomach acid from being produced. An endoscopy may also be recommend to see how much damage the acid has done to your esophagus. The last thing you want to do is to ignore heartburn!