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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is heartburn?
Heartburn, also known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GORD) or indigestion, is a very common condition in which the stomach contents and/or acid are able to move back upward into the esophagus, and occasionally back into the mouth.
What are the symptoms of heartburn?
The most common symptoms of heartburn are a burning sensation in the throat, a bad acidic taste in the mouth, belching, chest pain, excess saliva and sometimes coughing or hoarseness. Sometimes you can get acid reflux in your mouth, which might make you …
What causes heartburn?
Heartburn is caused when your lower esophageal sphincter (LOS) lets stomach acid flow back upwards into your esophagus. The LOS is similar to a valve; during heartburn it either does not work properly or is too relaxed, allowing stomach contents out instead of …
Who develops heartburn?
Anyone can develop heartburn, but it is more common in men and people over 50 years of age. It is also common in young children, as their shorter esophagus makes it easier for stomach contents to get regurgitated.
Is heartburn serious?
In most cases heartburn is not serious and simply causes discomfort and annoyance. In long-term cases though, the continuous acid reflux can damage the lining of your esophagus. If you have heartburn for more than 10 years, it may put you at higher risk of esophageal …
How is heartburn treated?
Most cases of heartburn can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Surgery is mainly offered for severe heartburn, or if you have a hiatus hernia.
What can be done at home to treat heartburn?
Eating smaller, regular meals, rather than large servings, particularly before bedtime, may help treat and prevent heartburn. Avoiding foods such as coffee, chocolate, fatty or spicy foods, and alcohol, especially with meals, may also be …
How common is heartburn?
Heartburn is very common, with an estimated one in five people experiencing it on a weekly basis. One in 10 people are thought to experience an episode every day.
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 23 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Votes: 626 (Click smiley face below left to rate)