Most people in the world have at least at some point experienced heartburn. It’s quite normal to feel spicy or fried foods burn the insides of your stomach. Nevertheless, it is not always just a feeling. Sometimes a heartburn is a symptom of a serious disease that requires immediate treatment.

How Does Heartburn Appear?

The burning sensation occurs as a result of irritation of the gastric mucosa. The environment inside the stomach is acidic. This is achieved with the help of a substance called stomach acid because it contains hydrochloric acid. The environment in the esophagus is alkaline.

A special orbicular muscle prevents food from getting back to the esophagus from the stomach. If this muscle gets weak, it stops working properly. The process of throwing the food back into the esophagus is called reflux. The inside of the stomach walls is covered with a layer of mucus that protects the stomach from the aggressive action of the acid.

There are also no glands in the stomach to produce new mucus. This is why the acid damages the stomach’s mucosa and causes a chemical burn. The patient feels burning and/or even pain the chest; this is why it’s called a heartburn.

What Causes Heartburn?

The weakening of the esophageal sphincter and increased concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach are symptoms of the following gastrointestinal diseases:

  1. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – the failure of the esophageal sphincter.
  2. Gastritis with increased acidity.
  3. Stomach ulcer.
  4. Gallstone disease.

Besides the mentioned diseases, other conditions may also cause a heartburn. They include:

  1. Unhealthy eating habits. The absence of a regular healthy eating habit, overeating, eating in a hurry – all this weakens the esophageal sphincter.
  2. Poor diet. Fat, fried, sweet, spicy foods or fresh dough can cause heartburn even in completely healthy people.
  3. Certain medications can cause a heartburn as well.
  4. Bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption.
  5. Chronic stress.
  6. Pregnancy or obesity – the reflux occurs as a result of abdominal pressure.
  7. External factors like tight clothing or heavy weight lifting.

How to Treat Heartburn?

It is very important to discover the root cause of your heartburn. If heartburn is a regular problem for you, it’s best to visit a gastroenterologist and go through complete diagnostics. It is also important to understand that your lifestyle is crucial for successful medical treatment and these things only work in a complex.

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