Do you regularly experience a burning feeling in your chest? Or do you have stomach acid leaking up in your throat? About 40% of adults experience problems with heartburn at least once a month and 10% every day.
90% of pregnant women are affected by heartburn during the latter part of the pregnancy. Another indication on how common it is, is to notice the sale of drugs that suppress gastric acid. They are among the best selling of all drugs.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid leaks up into the esophagus. Since the esophagus does not have the same protection against the corrosive acid as the stomach has, it causes an irritation of the mucous membranes. This almost feel like burning in your chest or throat. If it leaks all the way up into your mouth you get acid reflux.
Usually, stomach acid is prevented from leaking into the esophagus by the lower esophageal sphincter. It's a muscle that sits right at the end of the esophagus, tensing shut when you don't swallow food. It only opens when food passes or when burping. But in some cases it is unable to keep tight, allowing leakage upwards. The more often it leaks more irritation build up in the sensitive lining of the esophagus.
Some health issues has been found to be significantly more common in those who already suffer from heartburn or GERD. There seems to be a connection.
How does heartburn or acid reflux feels?
If you suffer from heartburn, it is also common to suffer from dyspepsia:
Heartburn is very common. Usually it does not lead to any more serious illnesses, but it often cause a lot of discomfort. Often it can be addressed with the correct lifestyle changes.
Heartburn and acid reflux are caused by stomach acid leaking up into the esophagus.
This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter, LES, is unable to hold completely tight. Some factors can weaken this muscle.
Intra Abdominal Pressure (IAP): when the IAP increase, the pressure on the sealing sphincter also increase
The IAP increases when you eat have a lot of trapped gas in your gut. or when you eat a lot of food. Or when you tense your abdominal muscles, pull your stomach in.
Running, bending forward, strength training or laying down may also trigger heartburn since the stomach of the contents start moving around more.
What can increase the intra abdominal pressure?
Stress and sensitivity: stress can weaken the LES. It can also make you perceive the discomfort as stronger than usual. Some people are simply more sensitive to small amounts of stomach acid leaking up and irritating the esophagus.
More possible contributing factors:
These tips and advice is easy to test yourself at home and often helps.
There are many tips and home remedies to try. Should they not help enough, you usually need to look for the deeper root causes.