Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest, which occurs in the esophagus, just behind the heart, and in no way involves the heart. This happens when gastric acids from the stomach splash back up into the lower portion of the esophagus, causing pain. The digestive acids don’t harm the stomach since it has protective coating, but the esophagus has no such coating, so you feel discomfort.
- Eating heavy meals
- Eating rapidly
- Eating foods like chocolate, garlic, onions, or peppermint
- Smoking after eating
- Drinking coffee (regular or decaffeinated)
- Drinking alcohol
- Taking aspirin
- Hiatal hernia, a protrusion of the upper part of the stomach through the diaphragm, a condition that is present in one of every two people over the age of 60. This permits stomach acid to squirt back into the esophagus.
Next week we shall discuss treatment / prevention of heartburn.
Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010. www.healthylife.com