Heartburn is an unpleasant burning feeling in the lower part of the chest after having a meal or when one lays down accompanied by a bitter taste in the mouth.
Once food gets into the mouth, it’s chewed and swallowed. Then it gets into a stomach through esophagus (a tube that connects the stomach with the mouth). There is an opening between esophagus and the stomach which serves as a gate for any food. Usually it closes as the food gets into the stomach but if not, the stomach acid may pass into esophagus and irritate it which causes heartburn.
The main reason that may cause heartburn is overeating. Tight clothes, pregnancy and some food (mints, onion, peppermints, fruit juices, spicy food, tomato products, fatty food, chocolate, drinks that contain caffeine), medications, alcohol, cigarette smoking may also cause heartburn.
In case heartburn is experienced too often, one may be at risk of having esophagitis, reflux disease, gastritis, peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease or hiatal hernia.
Antacids provide fast but short-term relief if one’s got heartburn. If they do not help, the doctor may advise to have an endoscopy, pH test and X-rays as ulcer may be suspected.