Heartburn has its other alternative names as
- Non-cardiac chest pain or
Heartburn & GERD | What Does Heartburn Feel Like? | Symptoms
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning sensation occurring in the chest. It usually happens when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus (or food pipe). This burning is experienced mainly at the central & upper chest part, behind the sternum (breastbone). The burning sensation worsens when a person lies on his or her right side or lies down flat. To put it in simple terms, heartburn occurs when the stomach acid flows back into the food pipe.
Many people have heartburn and it is a very common health condition. It isn’t that dangerous as it sounds to be. There are many OTC (Over-The-Counter) medications & natural remedies to treat the heartburn symptoms. Since it isn’t dangerous, you don’t have to consult a healthcare pro unless the signs become frequent or severe. Heartburn can be easily relieved through few lifestyle and diet changes. Though this is rare, some may need medications or surgery.
NOTE: Immediately seek medical advice if you happen to suffer heartburn
- Over once in a week or
- It is accompanied with breath shortness and radiation on neck/arms
What Is GERD?
GERD is abbreviated as “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease“, in which:
- Gastroesophageal means stomach & esophagus
- Reflux refers to return or flow back.
Therefore, Gastroesophageal Reflux literally means return of stomach’s contents back to esophagus.
GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a very serious and chronic form of heartburn. During normal digestion, LES or Lower Esophageal Sphincter opens so that it allows foods to pass through the stomach & closes in order to keep off foods & stomach acid from flowing backwards to esophagus (or food pipe). Gastroesophageal reflux usually occurs when one’s LES is very weak or doesn’t relaxes appropriately. Thus, allowing stomach contents to go up in the esophagus. GERD’s severity depends completely on LES dysfunctions, type, quantity of fluids brought upwards from stomach. In addition, saliva’s neutralizing effect can be another determining factor.
By definition, GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a commonly occurring digestive disorder, which affects LES or Lower Esophageal Sphincter(muscle ring between esophagus & stomach). So, it is same like heartburn but the difference is that, it is severe. In short, GERD is an unpleasant, burning and painful feeling that occurs just behind or below your breastbone. Usually, it comes from esophagus. Now, this pain frequently rises in chest & might even spread to throat or neck. Pregnant women mostly suffer from acid indigestion or heartburn caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. According to American College of Gastroenterology, about 15-milllion Americans suffer heartburn or GERD every day.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like?[box type=”success”] As said earlier, heartburn occurs when stomach acid gets into the esophagus. The kind of feeling one experiences, varies. However, the symptoms are common overall. Heartburn is a very discomfort and unpleasant feeling. You feel as if a strong burning acid is coming up to your throat. You feel as if your throat is burning. There is a sour, acidic, salty and hot tasting liquid at the throat’s back. Sometimes, you even experience its taste in your mouth, which can last from few minutes to even hours. You will be shocked to also read this that there are people who even suffer heartburn for weeks and months. [/box]
I hope you have understood what heartburn is all about. Now, coming back to your question what does heartburn feel like, let me tell you that it is a very discomfort and unpleasant feeling. I will explain the answers through points so that you will know clearly[starlist]
- Heartburn, as the name implies is a burning sensation that occurs in a person’s chest, which is just behind breastbone
- This unpleasant burning sensation has the ability to even radiate upwards to neck & throat
- This pressure or pain feeling behind breastbone usually occurs after you eat & may also last for 2 hours
- The person may also suffer a pain in the chest while lying down, bending over or immediately after eating
- The burning feel in the person’s throat is often accompanied by sour, acidic, bitter lasting or hot fluid. It is like as if the food is coming back to your mouth. You may also feel as if the food is still sticking in your throat or chest
- You will have difficulties while swallowing
- There is a feeling of food being “stuck” at the middle of chest / throat
- Heartburn can also cause sore throat, chronic hoarseness and chronic cough
What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn?
1. Chest pain
Heartburn is usually accompanied with chest pain. It occurs when stomach acid splashes into esophagus. This is the classic heartburn or acid reflux sign. This pain in the chest is often misunderstood as heart attack. However, it is not. Heart attack is severe and is completely a different term. However, the pain of heartburn lasts longer and can be little intense.
2. Bitter Taste
At times, the acid trying to escape from stomach makes its way back to the throat and leaves a bitter, icky taste inside the mouth. In extreme cases, it may cause choking. In case, it happens — particularly at night — meet a doctor.
3. Pain While Resting
One of the most common heartburn symptoms is none other than pain. The stomach acid, which is supposed to remain inside will likely escape into the esophagus after you bend over or lie down. This in turn causes pain and a sensation that is more burning. If you sit straight, gravity keeps the food in stomach but if you happen to lose it, you are prone to acid reflux. This is exactly why people suffering from chronic heartburn never raise their head from bed. They never have big meals before their bedtime as well.
4. Sore Throat
Sore throat is yet another typical cold / flu symptom, which may be due to digestive problems. In case, your throat aches only after the meals, you might have heartburn. However, with cold or flu, the sore throat type can be chronic. Now, if you do not develop other signs like sneezing or sniffling, then consider heartburn.
One may think that he or she is in early cold stages when voice begins cracking. However, hoarseness is another symptom of heartburn. If the stomach acid seeps in your esophagus (or food pipe), it can even irritate the vocal cords. Pay attention when the voice sounds little husky. On the other hand, if this husky voice happens to be right after your meal, you might have reflux.
6. More Saliva
In case, the mouth suddenly begins producing more saliva, then it can be the so-called water brash. This is extremely suggestive of heartburn. It involves same nerves & reflex when one vomits. The body is trying to clean irritants in the esophagus.
Many respiratory symptoms like wheezing and chronic cough can be because of heartburn. This happens when stomach acid gets into the lungs. Suppose, you suspect that your heartburn condition is the root cause for breathing difficulties or possibly occurs after eating, then consider consulting a doctor to have your pH test done. This test measures the acid amount in the esophagus and determines if you suffer heartburn or not.
Yet another major heartburn symptom is none other than nausea. But the kind of nausea one suffers from may be little hard to exactly say if it is of heartburn’s. In some patients, the only sign of heartburn can be nausea while others may have a different one. If you suffer nausea & cannot figure out exactly as to why it is happening then think of reflux. Moreover, if nausea happens to come after meals, then it is more evident that it is from acid reflux. Have it checked and if it is a yes, regular antacid treatments could cut the discomfort down.
9. Trouble While Swallowing
As time passes, constant cycle of damaging and healing after heartburn causes scarring. In turn, this causes swelling of lower-esophagus tissues, resulting in esophagus narrowing and difficulty while swallowing.[box type = “success”]
Note: The common heartburn symptom is burning sensation in chest. This is often accompanied with sour taste or feeling as if food is been stuck inside the throat. But if your heartburn symptoms come with breath shortness, radiation in neck or arms, cold sweat or dizziness, then the you require immediate evaluation from a healthcare professional. [/box]
How Long Does Heartburn Last? | Reflux Types | Causes
How Long Does Heartburn Last?
So, how long does heartburn last? Well, let me tell you that this actually varies from one person to the other. Therefore, there is no particular time frame as to how long can it last. Usually, people go through it for few minutes to even hours. You will be shocked to also read this that there are people who even suffer heartburn for weeks and months. This indicates that it has gone severe. Never take it lightly if you get it frequently. Meet your doctor.[divider]
How Common Is GERD And Heartburn?
Over 60 million adults of America experience heartburn once in a month while over 15-million American adults suffer an everyday heartburn. This condition is more common in women, who are pregnant. Recent research shows that GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) in infants & children have become more common when compared to previous survey reports.
9 Things To Note Down When You Suffer Heartburn[checklist]
- Stay away from foods that easily trigger heartburn.
- Consume foods that are fiber rich.
- Eat grubs that easily move down to the digestive tract.
- Don’t stuff your food. Eat slowly and less. Pay attention to the proportions.
- Take smaller bites while eating your food.
- Follow a healthy diet every day.
- Exercise every single day.
- Quit smoking since this bad habit can literally worsen the heartburn.
- Ditch skin-tight jeans. Wear loose and comfortable outfits.
Acid Reflux Types
Many people occasionally experience Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GER) or acid reflux. But, in certain cases, digestive condition can be chronic. This is exactly called GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. If you happen to suffer GERD, then you will notice burning sensation to be over twice in a week. Doctors say that few people suffer GERD because of the so-called condition known as “Hiatal Hernia”.
An acid reflux can affect
Most kids under the age 12 and some adults, suffering GERD, do not experience its most common sign—burn. Alternative symptoms incorporate
- Trouble while swallowing
- Dry cough
1. Infant Acid Reflux
Adults are not the ones, who are affected by GERD or acid reflux. It is quite shocking to note that over half of babies suffer something called infant acid reflux. This type of heartburn or reflux usually occurs in the newborn’s initial 3 months. It is significant for a pediatrician to distinguish between infant’s regular physiological reflux & GERD. Spitting the food out and vomiting is pretty normal. This might never bother the infant. But other signs take in
- Arching his or her back immediately, during / after feedings
Happily, these symptoms are not harmful for the baby. The infant acid reflux goes off on its own. This is between 12 & 18-months of age. GERD in infants can be easily missed. So, it is important to talk to the pediatrician in case your baby shows up the below symptoms:
- No weight gain
- Failing to eat properly
- Respiratory issues
- Spitting the food often
- Spit-up appears brown or green
2. Reflux Esophagitis
Esophagitis is one of the general terms used for inflammatory swelling or irritation of esophagus. This reflux type is related with GERD. It occurs when stomach acid returns upwards the esophagus, hurting the tissues & this often leads to heartburn.
3. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
This is a very chronic digestive disorder, which affects individual of all age groups (including children). It is serious GER form & can pose greater health issues if it is left untreated. Acid reflux occurring over 2-times a week is considered GERD.
I hope you have now clearly understood how does heartburn feel like.
What Causes Heartburn?
It is common for everyone to go through heartburn at times. However, if you suffer it often then you might have GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Basically, when liquid or food passes down your stomach, muscles at the esophagus end closes it. Now this band is called LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter). When this band doesn’t close tightly, contents from your stomach can easily back up (or reflux) to the esophagus. The partly-digested materials irritate esophagus, which in turn causes heartburn.
Even some medications can cause heartburn. These drugs include[checklist]
- Anticholinergics (example – for sea-sickness)
- Beta-blockers for heart diseases or high BP
- Calcium channel blocker for high BP
- Dopamine-like medications for Parkinson disease
- Progestin for birth control or irregular menstrual bleeding
- Sedatives for insomnia (lack of sleep) and anxiety
- Theophylline for lung diseases or asthma
- Tricyclic antidepressants
15 Ultimate Home Remedies For Heartburn[/box]
15 Natural Remedies For Heartburn
If you are just wondering what to do for heartburn to have it cured naturally, then you will find this list of heartburn home remedies pretty helpful.
This natural ingredient is great for digesting your food. Its natural oil content helps in neutralizing stomach acid. Just take handful of almonds (about 7 to 10) and after 30-minutes, you will see that you no more have that burning feel.
2. Fresh Vegetable & Fruit Juice
Nothing can beat fresh natural juices. Especially, the ones that are made from fresh fruits and vegetables. They help in balancing your stomach acid and make sure that you don’t get heartburn.
This is one of the best home remedies for heartburn. It not only hydrates you but also washes out the excess acid splashing into your esophagus. However, don’t drink too much when you suffer it since it may worsen the condition.
4. Aloe Vera Juice
This is another great natural remedy for heartburn. Fresh juice of Aloe Vera acts as coolant and helps in reducing skin inflammation too. The nutrients present in Aloe Vera cools stomach and makes sure that you get an instant relief from heartburn.
Just an apple slice is enough to get rid of heartburn. This natural fruit has the ability to calm acid production & even lessen burning sensation that you go through. It helps in neutralizing your stomach acid just in 5-minutes. Gala or Braeburn apples work great for heartburn.
6. Baking Soda
This is natural antacid. All you have to do is to mix about ½ or 1-teaspoon baking soda in 1 glass water. Drink this mixture so that it helps in neutralizing your stomach acid. This is only a temporary solution and if you’re someone who is suffering heartburn often then do not use this remedy. It is only for people who get it rarely. Since baking soda has higher salt amounts, it can easily cause side effects such as nausea, stomach pain and even swelling.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is one of the best heartburn home remedies to make use of. Just stir 2-tablespoons apple cider vinegar in ½-cup apple juice or plain water. Now, drink it immediately after your meal. This will calm your stomach troubles & brings a better relief fast. You can even have them in the form of capsule or tablet.
Yet another natural remedy for heartburn is none other than Buttermilk. If you are suffering with it, just drink ½-cup chilled buttermilk and you should soon see a difference much faster.
9. Chamomile Tea
This is another ingredient that helps in neutralizing stomach acid. People also use it as stress reliever. Chamomile tea is extremely helpful in neutralizing stomach acid. It is also used by people as a stress reliever.
Consider making teas made from cardamom or cinnamon, as this cools down heartburn largely. Just add 1-teaspoon either powdered or crushed herb onto 1-cup of boiling water. Mix, strain & drink it.
This natural fruit is an antacid that helps in curing heartburn. You can have them either fresh or dried.
This is one of the best home remedies for heartburn. Basil leaves are proven to cure heartburn, gas and nausea as well. Just chew 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves.
Grapes are very helpful in treating heartburn. Just eat about 15 to 20 grapes at anytime or while suffering heartburn. They will refresh you instantly. It is very helpful when there is a stomach upset.
14.Aloe Vera Juice
The fresh juice of Aloe Vera is known to soothe irritated esophagus. You will be happy to know that Aloe Vera juice is used since ancient times, especially in Europe to relive heartburn.
15. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm, a natural herb has been utilized for centuries for treating different illnesses even including GERD or heartburn symptoms. The extracts of this tree thickens stomach’s mucous layer lining, creating a strong barrier against the acid. Slippery elm, a demulcent, offers a protective layer or coating to the stomach tissues. The way it has been traditionally prescribed is to add few tablespoons of slipper elm in water and consume them after meals &at bedtime.