Heartburn

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Actually, heartburn doesn’t involve the heart, but it DOES burn.  You may have symptoms of burning in the lower chest or a bitter/acidic taste in the mouth.

It is caused when acid from the stomach goes upward (the wrong way) and irritates the esophagus, the food tube, which is between the mouth and the stomach.  Heartburn can become worse after overeating, when bending over, during pregnancy, or with certain foods such as

  • Cigarettes
  • Coffee
  • Citrus fruits like orange/grapefruit
  • Tomato products (including pizza)
  • Chocolate, mints
  • Spicy foods
  • Onions.

Heartburn isn’t serious if it occurs infrequently.  But, it may be a symptom of  gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an inflamed stomach lining (gastritis), hiatal hernia (where the stomach herniates upward through a hole in the diaphragm), or an ulcer.

To prevent GERD, avoid triggers

  • quit smoking,
  • lose weight if overweight,
  • don’t overeat, and
  • avoid eating less than 3 hours before bedtime.

Antacids like Maalox and Mylanta are over the counter medications that may give short-term relief.  There are also two other families of medications that help:  H2- blockers like ranitidine or PPIs like omeprazole.  Both reduce stomach acid production.

Physician attention is needed if symptoms are more than three times a week, you have shortness of breath, dizziness, pain radiating into neck of shoulder, sweating with pain in the chest, blood in either vomit or stool.

Hope this helps.  Bon appetit!

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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