Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest or throat that occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. It is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a condition in which the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus (the lower esophageal sphincter) fails to close properly, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
Common triggers of heartburn include certain foods, such as spicy or fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol, as well as smoking, obesity, and pregnancy. Symptoms of heartburn can vary in severity and may include:
There are several treatment options for heartburn, including over-the-counter antacids, which neutralize stomach acid, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which reduce the production of stomach acid. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and losing weight, can also help manage symptoms.
If you experience severe or persistent heartburn, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or vomiting, it is important to seek medical attention, as it may be a sign of a more serious condition.