Find out what’s really causing uncomfortable heartburn. If you’ve ever had heartburn, you know the uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest and throat is no fun. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, when acid from your stomach bubbles up into your esophagus, the tube connecting your stomach to your throat. Your esophagus is much more sensitive than your stomach, which is built to handle the corrosive effects of acid. If the reflux becomes frequent and severe enough, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD. While this needs to be treated to avoid complications including a higher risk of esophageal cancer, you can often take care of or even prevent occasional acid reflux on your own with lifestyle changes like eating smaller meals and losing excess weight. Here are some of the more frequent causes of the condition. Many people complain that they get reflux after eating certain foods. Common culprits include items high in fat, chocolate, spicy foods, citrusy or acidic foods like oranges and tomatoes, mint, garlic, and onions, as well as carbonated drinks.
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. Acid reflux is a common condition that features a burning pain, known as heartburn, in the lower chest area. It happens when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe. Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD is diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week. Exact figures vary, but diseases resulting from acid reflux are the most common gut complaint seen by hospital departments in the United States. The American College of Gastroenterology says that over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and at least 15 million as often as daily. GERD is most common in Western countries, affecting an estimated 20 to 30 percent of the population. Acid reflux is when some of the acid content of the stomach flows up into the esophagus, into the gullet, which moves food down from the mouth.
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