Heartburn can feel like a burning sensation in your chest but has nothing to do with your heart. It happens when acid flows backward from your stomach into your esophagus, a muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The triggers that cause heartburn vary from person to person.
Some of the common ones are diet, smoking and being overweight. You may wonder about the differences between heartburn vs. acid reflux vs. GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease). Heartburn and acid reflux are common terms for what is known as gastroesophageal reflux. Heartburn and acid reflux are the most common symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).
How Does Heartburn Happen?
Heartburn is caused by a backward flow, or reflux of stomach acid, into your esophagus. Your lower esophageal sphincter is supposed to prevent the contents of your stomach from escaping, but sometimes it relaxes or weakens and allows acid to flow backward into the esophagus. Since your esophagus isn’t meant to house acid, it can cause a burning sensation.
What Is GERD?
GERD is a regular pattern of acid reflux. If you are experiencing acid reflux two or more times per week, you may be diagnosed with GERD. While
GERD is not life-threatening, repeated exposure of the lining of the esophagus to acidic contents can lead to tissue damage.
You should talk to a doctor if problems persist for more than a couple weeks.