What Causes Heartburn?And When to See a Doctor for Heartburn Symptoms
Heartburn is a burning sensation that is experienced in the chest, behind the sternum, after eating or when you lie down after eating. Many people experience heartburn and they can reduce the discomfort that they experience by changing their position and changing their diet. When your heartburn occurs very frequently or it does not go away with over the counter medications, you should see a doctor.
The doctor will take your medical history and then do a physical examination to determine whether your heartburn is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Heartburn can be unbearable when you have too much Cypress acid reflux. Treatment of your heartburn will depend on the cause of your heartburn.
What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn?
The most commonly reported symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation or a sharp pain behind your breast bone. This burning sensation occurs after eating some foods especially those that have levels of acid, like beans. Other foods that give heartburn are citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol, tomatoes, spicy foods, and carbonated beverages.
The heartburn is increased by eating large meals or lying down immediately after eating these foods. Other symptoms of heartburn include having a bitter taste in your mouth and this causes reflux of the stomach acid to the mouth. You may also experience pain in your chest that worsens when you bend.
What Causes Heartburn?
In normal situations, when you swallow food, it passes through the esophagus to the stomach through the esophageal sphincter which relaxes at this time. When food enters the stomach the lower esophageal sphincter which is a band of muscle should contract and tighten. Heartburn occurs if this muscle fails to close properly after food enters the stomach.
Failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to contract may be caused by the weakening of the muscle of the sphincter. The loose lower sphincter allows the stomach acid to reflux back to the esophagus and may even reach the mouth and this is what causes the burning sensation that occurs in heartburn.
The risk factors that increase heartburn include eating large meals close to bedtime, sleeping immediately after eating, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol, and eating fatty food. Heartburn is also common during pregnancy due to the large uterus that puts pressure on the esophageal sphincter.
When Should You See a Doctor About Heartburn?
You should see a doctor when you have heartburn more than two times a week. If your heartburn does not resolve with the over the counter medications, you may need to see a doctor to check if the heartburn is due to another disease. You should also see a doctor when the heartburn is accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
When heartburn makes you unable to swallow food or causes you to lose weight because of a lack of appetite, you should have a doctor examine you and offer you treatment. Heartburn may complicate when it occurs persistently to form GERD which is a risk factor for esophageal cancer.
Heartburn occurs due to the reflux of stomach acid to the chest or the mouth. Many people experience heartburn which goes away with over the counter medications but if you experience persistent heartburn that is accompanied by pain, difficulty in swallowing, and weight loss, you should visit a doctor to determine what is causing the heartburn.