Heartburn can be described as a burning sensation in the chest. It also causes a sore throat, a sensation of something stuck in your throat, and a sour taste in the mouth. Symptoms of heartburn usually occur shortly after eating.
What Causes Heartburn?
What you eat or drink can trigger heartburn. Usually, a large meal or citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy food, coffee, tea, and other acidic and high-fat foods and drinks are to blame. While what you consume can cause unpleasant heartburn symptoms, there is something going on inside of you – a malfunction – that is making heartburn possible.
Heartburn is caused by a malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a flap that is supposed to shut itself and prevent stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. If the LES is tight and not weakened, and able to perform its function, heartburn should not occur. A malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Other possible causes for the lower esophagus sphincter to become weakened is the use of medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen or blood pressure drugs, smoking or the use of tobacco, and lying down after eating, which causes the stomach acids to easily flow back up in the esophagus. Heartburn is also common in pregnant women and overweight individuals due to the increased pressure placed on the abdomen that can prevent the LES from tightening.
How Do I Get Relief From Heartburn?
You can achieve relief from heartburn by doing one or a combination of the following:
- Eating a banana
- Drinking a cup of water with baking soda
- Drinking ginger tea
- Taking over-the-counter antacids (these neutralize the stomach acid that causes heartburn)
You can also try to prevent heartburn by doing the following:
- Avoiding consuming large meals, citrus fruits and drinks, and spicy foods
- Switching pain medications (acetaminophen is usually easier on the stomach of people who suffer from heartburn)
- Quitting smoking (chemicals in cigarettes relax the lower esophageal sphincter muscles)
- Remaining in an upright position after eating (try to avoid eating three hours before you go to bed)
- Lose weight
If heartburn becomes a frequent problem, you may have what’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, or worse, stomach cancer. A gastrointestinal (GI) doctor can help you manage heartburn and prevent serious complications.
Heartburn Treatment in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
Our GI doctors at North Shore Gastroenterology can diagnose your condition and rule out other possible digestive conditions that can also cause heartburn symptoms. Our GI specialists will explain to you in detail your diagnosis and treatment, and help you successfully manage your condition, so you no longer have to suffer the unpleasant symptoms of heartburn.
To schedule an appointment with one of our gastrointestinal doctors, call our GI clinic today at (440) 808-1212 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality GI services in Westlake and Brooklyn.