Heartburn or acid indigestion is a burning sensation felt in the chest typically after eating or while lying down.
This pain can be felt in the central part of the chest or in adjacent areas. At times, it can be hard to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack even for seasoned physicians unless certain tests are ordered.
Causes of Heartburn/GERD
Heartburn occurs because the lower part of the esophagus (the tube which carries food from the mouth to the stomach) becomes loose and doesn’t close properly. This laxity allows stomach acid to travel up the esophagus, which causes the burning sensation.
Certain foods are associated with heartburn more so than others and these include spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, tobacco, and coffee to name a few.
Treatment of Heartburn/GERD
Treatment involves over the counter antacids or prescription pills. If obesity is present, which contributes to heartburn, it should also be addressed.