What Is Heartburn? The Facts

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What Is Heartburn? The FactsHeartburn is one of those words that we often hear bandied around in relation to a few different digestive issues. Sometimes knowing the difference between heartburn and a more serious problem can be difficult.

If you suffer from regular after-dinner chest pains and want to know exactly what’s causing it, here are all the facts you need to know about heartburn.

Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart

Heartburn occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter (the barrier between your stomach and your oesophagus) opens too regularly or too easily, allowing the acid from your stomach to come into contact with the delicate lining of your oesophagus, causing irritation.

Though heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, it does mimic some of the symptoms of a heart attack. If you suffer palpitations, sweating or shortness of breath along with your chest pain, then contact your GP. Benenden health can advise members on the quickest way to get an appointment with a medical consultant.

Heartburn is often triggered by certain foods

Eating certain types of food is one of the main triggers of heartburn. Around 94 per cent of sufferers can link their heartburn to eating specific foods, so to avoid the condition as much as possible, you should try to identify your personal triggers and eliminate them from your diet.

Heartburn is worse when lying down or bending over

Many sufferers report that lying down or bending over worsens the pain caused by heartburn. This often means that eating a big meal close to going to bed can cause severe pain and even prevent people from sleeping altogether.

If possible, always eat at least two to three hours before going to bed to avoid aggravating the symptoms.

Lifestyle choices can reduce the risks of suffering episodes of heartburn

Though the cause of heartburn is biological, you can reduce the frequency of your episodes of heartburn by making some different lifestyle choices. Losing weight, quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol have all been shown to ease heartburn. Plus, they’ll help you to feel healthier overall!

Heartburn is more common in pregnant women

Thanks to an increase in nausea and vomiting as well as the surge in hormones, 40-80 per cent of pregnant women will suffer from heartburn at some point in their pregnancy.

Persistent heartburn can be a symptom of a more serious problem

Though infrequent, mild episodes of heartburn aren’t anything to worry about. However, if you suffer from persistent heartburn, it could be a symptom of something more serious, like gastroesophageal reflux disease.

If you’re in doubt, always get checked out by a healthcare professional.

Editorial Team
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