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Heartburn- Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

By Manjumodiyani @HoshiyaarChaddi

Heartburn, medically known as pyrosis or acid indigestion, is a condition wherein a person experiences a burning sensation in the esophagus, coupled with the pain that may start in the sub-sternal region and advance towards the throat and jaws. This condition has nothing to with the heart, but it is so called because of esophagus’s proximity to the heart while it runs to the mid-line into the abdomen.

Heartburn- Symptoms, causes and treatmentThe basic and most prominent cause of heartburn is improper closure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES is a muscular valve that is located at the point where the esophagus meets the stomach, right below the rib-cage and little left from the mid-line  The LES helps keep the contents of the stomach like acids, digestive enzymes and food in the process of digestion, into the stomach. Improper closure of LES causes the acids to move into the esophagus. This is called acid reflux. OTC options like antacids, H2 blockers, Bismuth subsalicylate, etc are effective and safe to treat heartburn.Other causes of heartburn include obesity, overeating, pregnancy, intake of spicy and oily food, intake of foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolates, tea, coffee, garlic, alcohol, etc. that cause relaxation of the LES. Insufficient sleep, erratic sleep patterns, smoking and stress also cause heartburn.Recurring heartburn may indicate the presence of a wider condition. Doctors generally advise patients to go for a barium swallow x-ray, endoscopy, manometry, esophageal motility testing, or ambulatory acid probe test to diagnose the cause.Discomfort from heartburn can be minimized or prevented altogether by maintaining a healthy weight, eating smaller meals, quitting alcohol and smoking, identifying and avoiding intake of food that may cause heartburn, not going to bed directly after having a meal.Thus, having a basic knowledge about the causes, symptoms and preventive measures and utilizing the same can help you avoid the discomfort caused by the heartburn.Note- The contents of this site (texts, images, and other material contained) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician  regarding a medical condition you may have. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

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