Causes of heartburn, remedies


  • The essence of the phenomenon and its causes
  • Varieties and symptoms
  • What diseases start heartburn?
  • Heartburn Diagnosis
  • Heartburn treatment
  • Folk remedies for heartburn
  • Prevention

Most people perceive heartburn as an annoying nuisance, which either quickly resolves itself, or it can be dealt with without problems. In fact, this unpleasant phenomenon may be one of the first signs of the disease. Therefore, to treat this violation of digestion should be serious in time to identify and begin to treat the disease.

The essence of the phenomenon and its causes

Heartburn is a burning sensation that can occur in the upper gastrointestinal tract as a result of exposure to the esophageal mucosa of hydrochloric acid contained in the gastric juice. The higher the acid concentration, the more intense the burning sensation. It is often possible to come across an identification of the terms “dyspepsia” (indigestion) and “heartburn,” but this is not the same thing. Dyspepsia is a violation of the digestive system, accompanied by unpleasant or even painful sensations in the upper abdomen. Heartburn is one of the symptoms of indigestion.

The physiological mechanism of the appearance of heartburn is as follows. Normally, the contents of the stomach can only move downward, into the intestines, so that all the food taken can be completely digested, and the remaining waste will go out. But in some cases, reflux occurs – the movement of gastric contents in the opposite direction. This phenomenon causes heartburn, because the delicate mucous membrane of the esophagus is burned by acidic masses.

If the acidity is normal or below normal, heartburn may be slightly felt or absent altogether. With an increased content of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice, heartburn will be strong.

Varieties and symptoms

The main symptom of heartburn is an unpleasant feeling that rises from the epigastrium (the area under the spoon) up the esophagus. This may be a burning sensation of varying degrees, even burning, often accompanied by belching with air or with food particles. Her companions can also be hypersalivation (excessive salivation, drooling), nausea and vomiting.

Heartburn can be:

  • periodic;
  • chronic.

Periodic is considered to be heartburn, which can bother from time to time a healthy person with some disorders of a healthy lifestyle. The most common causes of recurrent heartburn are:

  • binge eating;
  • too spicy food;
  • food that causes an increase in gastric acidity;
  • food that affects the sphincter muscle tone;
  • smoking and alcohol;
  • horizontal posture after eating;
  • significant physical effort, accompanied by tension of the abdominal wall;
  • mechanical squeezing of the stomach;
  • stressful situations.

And this phenomenon can be called chronic when a person experiences persistent burning attacks, regardless of the nature of the food intake and its quantity. Such heartburn is a symptom of the disease, and to get rid of it, you need to consult a doctor.

Heartburn can also vary according to dislocation: a burning sensation can also be felt up, in the throat, and only down. Often, “lower” heartburn is accompanied by pain in the stomach. This phenomenon accompanies gastrointestinal pathologies. Burning in the throat is caused by impaired functioning of the upper sphincter.

What diseases start heartburn?

The sensation of burning in the chest is determined by:

  • gastritis;
  • duodenitis (inflammation of the duodenum);
  • cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder);
  • gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer;
  • diaphragmatic hernia.

Most often, patients seeking medical help with persistent heartburn are diagnosed with a disease that is abbreviated GERD. It stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. In this disease, the acidic contents of the stomach constantly travels in the reverse direction – up the esophagus. Such a reflux, if it is observed constantly, not only irritates the mucous membrane of the esophagus, which is very painful, but also gradually ulcerates it. These damages to the mucous membranes, when they heal, are scarring, which leads to a narrowing of the lumen of the esophagus.

Most of the diseases, the symptoms of which is heartburn, are accompanied by hyperacidosis – increased production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach. Constant irritation of the mucous membranes can lead to the appearance of tumors, the main condition for the treatment of which is timely diagnosis.

Heartburn Diagnosis

For a detailed study of the gastrointestinal tract of a person suffering from heartburn, the following diagnostic procedures are used:

  • fluoroscopy;
  • fibroesophagogastroduodenoscopy.

When X-ray examination, the doctor receives information about the patency / obstruction, narrowing of the esophagus, hernias, etc., but it is very difficult to assess the condition of the mucous membranes using fluoroscopy. But fibroesophagogastroduodenoscopy gives a complete picture. This examination of the mucosa from the beginning of the esophagus to the exit from the stomach into the duodenum, it is performed using a special flexible tube with an optical device inside. This device is called an endoscope, it gives the doctor the opportunity to examine the gastrointestinal mucosa, assess its condition, and when new growths are detected, tissue is taken for subsequent analysis.

There are also other diagnostic methods used to measure the acidity in the esophagus and the tone of the sphincters that provide for the closure of the reflux pathways. But most of the doctors already after endoscopy have enough complete information for diagnosis.

Heartburn treatment

Any treatment should be agreed with the doctor, if we are talking about chronic heartburn (this is considered a burning sensation that occurs at least 2 times a week). It includes agents that both suppress the production of acid by the stomach, as well as those that neutralize the excessive acidity of the gastric contents (the so-called antacids), as well as other drugs.

After the examination, it may become clear that the reflux of gastric contents is the result of compression of the stomach by any organ of the abdominal cavity, which has increased as a result of the disease or the development of a tumor. In this case, the treatment may be a surgical intervention.

If we are talking about periodic heartburn, then to relieve a burning sensation, it is enough to take antacid (Maalox, Renny, etc.) according to the instructions on the package. You can also use folk remedies.

Constant self-treatment and the uncontrolled taking of medicines or traditional medicine “lubricates” the symptoms of serious diseases and only postpones the visit to the doctor. The abuse of some seemingly harmless remedies leads to serious complications. Thus, the constant “quenching” of a fire in the esophagus of baking soda dissolved in water not only hides the symptoms of ulcers, gastritis, etc., but also leads to a change in the blood formula and its alkalization (this is called alkalosis). After the use of sodium bicarbonate, the stomach begins to produce hydrochloric acid with even greater force, since the receptors send a signal to it to reduce the acidity of the gastric juice.

Folk remedies for heartburn

All home remedies that remove the burning sensation in the esophagus are exceptionally symptomatic and do not affect the underlying cause of heartburn. They only alleviate the human condition.

The most common means is flaxseed, decoction of chamomile, oats and potatoes. From fresh grated potatoes need to make juice. To do this, rub each time so many potatoes to make half a glass of potato juice, and drink it half an hour before meals. It is necessary to make fresh juice every time. It is necessary to be treated with such juice 10 days.

Oats can be simply chewed, putting in the mouth two or three grains, constantly swallowing saliva, or steamed oatmeal, strain and drink before meals and before bedtime. It is done this way: on a tablespoon of cereal and a half cups of boiling water, pour oatmeal in a thermos and hold for 5 hours. Strain the resulting mucous mass and drink 2 tablespoons.

It also helps with heartburn ordinary almonds: scald one nut to peel off, and chew slowly, swallowing saliva, until the burning sensation disappears.


To reduce the possibility of heartburn to a minimum, we must first not overeat, and secondly, do not abuse the sharp, fatty foods, smoked meats and pickles – all this causes hypersecretion of gastric juice. Affect this function and nicotine with alcohol.

The less stress, the less heartburn. The reason – in stressful situations, there is an adrenaline rush, and this substance “starts” increased acidity.

After eating, you need to either sit or walk – but do not go to bed: in this position, the possibility of reflux is high. Causes the release of gastric contents and tight clothing – in particular, trouser belts, designed to keep pants from slipping from the bulk of the abdomen. They squeeze the peritoneum, causing belching and heartburn.

If it is noted, after which products dyspepsia is observed, it is better to eliminate them from your diet or to minimize them. These are mainly chocolate, coffee, legumes, citrus fruits, garlic onions, seasonings and tomato sauces. If you are unable to give up your favorite food, then reduce the portions, and after the meal (you can also during it) drink non-carbonated water, drink the meal with a cup of warm milk.

Heartburn should be dealt with at the first appearance of a burning sensation in the esophagus, since it not only causes discomfort, but also can signal problems with digestion and the possible onset of gastrointestinal illness.

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