Heartburn

Brandon Riverview Medical Associates

Primary Care Practice, Urgent Care, & Weight Loss Center located in Brandon, FL & Riverview, FL

Don’t ignore frequent or severe heartburn, since it could be an indication of a more serious underlying medical problem. In Brandon and Riverview, Florida, the highly adept physicians of Brandon Riverview Medical Associates have ample experience treating heartburn and improving your overall health and wellness. Call one of the offices or book your personal consultation here on the website.

Heartburn Q & A

What is heartburn?

Heartburn refers to a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone.

Occasional heartburn is common and not a cause for concern. Heartburn that’s more frequent or gets in the way of your daily life might be a symptom of a more serious condition requiring medical care.

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

Some of the symptoms of heartburn include:

  • A burning pain in your chest that typically gets worse after eating
  • Pain that’s exacerbated by bending over or lying down
  • An acidic or bitter taste in your mouth

If you experience severe chest pressure or pain, particularly when combined with other signs and symptoms, such as pain in an arm or difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. Chest pain might be a symptom of a heart attack.

What causes heartburn?

Heartburn happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus — the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.

When you swallow, a muscle band around the bottom of your esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes to enable your foods and liquids to flow down into your stomach. Then the muscle tightens again.

If your lower esophageal sphincter weakens or relaxes abnormally, your stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus — known as acid reflux — and lead to heartburn. Acid backup might be worse when you’re lying down or bent over.

For some people, certain foods and drinks can trigger heartburn, such as:

  • Spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Citrus products
  • Tomato products, such as ketchup
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol, coffee or other caffeinated beverages, and carbonated beverages
  • Large meals that are consumed too quickly

If you’re pregnant or overweight, you also have an increased risk of developing heartburn.

Frequent heartburn that interferes with your daily routine is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can cause serious damage to your esophagus over time or lead to precancerous changes in your esophagus called Barrett's esophagus.

How is heartburn treated?

To evaluate your health and determine if you have heartburn, your provider might conduct various diagnostic tests, such as an endoscopy, an X-ray, bloodwork, and esophageal motility testing.

Your provider discusses your symptoms and medical and family history. To treat your heartburn, your provider might recommend:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Antacids, proton pump inhibitors, or H2-receptor antagonists to neutralize stomach acid
  • Lifestyle changes, such as stress management, consuming a nutrient-dense healthy diet, and regular appropriate exercise
  • Getting your weight in a healthy range

You can also try avoiding foods that trigger your heartburn. Call Brandon Riverview Medical Associates or book online to find relief from your heartburn.