What Is Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and GERD?
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn, also called acid indigestion, is a burning feeling in your chest that happens after eating. Even though it is called heartburn, it has nothing to do with the heart.
Heartburn is the irritation of the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach.
This is caused by stomach acid leaking out of the stomach and into the esophagus.
Heartburn is the symptom that is caused by Acid Reflux or GERD.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like?
- Chest pain, especially after you eat, bend over, or lie down.
- A burning feeling at the back of your throat.
- Hot, sour, acidic, or salty taste.
What Causes Heartburn?
The symptoms of heartburn are caused by problems with a muscle called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).
The LES is a muscle located where the esophagus meets the stomach. This muscle is responsible for keeping stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs . . .
. . . and not in the esophagus, where it causes heartburn!
Heartburn is a symptom of Acid Reflux or GERD, it is the feeling caused by acid reflux and GERD.
With that being said, what is acid reflux and GERD??
What Is Acid Reflux?
Where the esophagus meets the stomach, there is a muscle called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). This muscle is in charge of keeping the acid from the stomach in the stomach.
Sometimes this muscle doesn’t work properly . . .
It might not close all the way, it may close too slowly, or maybe it doesn’t work at all . . .
When this happens and the stomach acid spills into the esophagus you experience the symptom of Heartburn!
What Is GERD?
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
Persistent Acid Reflux that occurs more than twice a week is considered GERD.
In many cases, GERD can be controlled by a change of diet of lifestyle changes.
However, some may require medication or surgery to reduce or remove GERD symptoms.
What Can I Expect?
You can expect acid reflux to be made worse by obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol, and a poor diet.
- Diet – A change in diet can play a key role in treatment of Acid Reflux or GERD, especially the reduction in foods that tend to trigger a Reflux reaction such as: chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee or alcoholic beverages. Keeping a Acid Reflux journal is a good way to track certain foods that trigger a response for you. Some foods and beverages can irritate an already damaged esophageal lining such as: citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, and pepper. Eating food too close to bedtime can also cause issues for Acid Reflux sufferers.
- Lifestyle Changes – Smoking cigarettes and obesity are factors that can trigger and Acid Reflux reaction. Stopping cigarette smoking and cutting down on extra weight can help reduce Acid Reflux flare ups. Pregnant women can also get pregnancy related Acid Reflux.
- Medication – Antacids can help neutralize acid in the esophagus and stomach and help ease heartburn, but should not be used for extended periods of time as they can cause other issues. For long term use, your doctor may prescribe something to reduce acid in the stomach.
- Surgery –