Heartburn. Thanks to decades of TV commercials, we consider it a relatively harmless condition that just calls for some over-the-counter remedy. And in most cases, it’s just that. But frequent heartburn is a cause for concern and a call to your doctor. It can signify a condition that can lead to one of the most deadly cancers. These are the most common signs of heartburn, according to physicians. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don ‘t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
The most common symptom of heartburn—and why it’s so named—is a burning sensation in your chest, behind your breastbone, after you’ve eaten. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours and can move up your chest to your throat. The sensation may get worse when you bend over or lay down.
If you have heartburn, you may feel a burning sensation in your throat. That can be caused by acid from the stomach backing up into the throat. It’s a potential symptom of GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease, aka acid reflux), in which the valve that separates the stomach and esophagus (the tube leading from the stomach to the throat) weakens, allowing stomach acid to flow upward.
If you have heartburn, you may experience a sour or bitter taste in the back of your throat, says the Cleveland Clinic. That’s another symptom of GERD, caused by stomach acid flowing back into the throat.
When you have heartburn, you might also have difficulty swallowing. That can be caused by inflammation resulting from acid flowing up from the stomach to the esophagus. If you have frequent heartburn, it’s important to consult your doctor. Left untreated, it can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which can cause changes to the esophagus that can result in esophageal cancer.
Some people experience heartburn because of certain habits, like eating too much, eating too close to bedtime, or drinking too much alcohol. Heartburn may be triggered by certain foods, like spicy or fatty dishes, onions, tomatoes, citrus foods, coffee or other caffeinated beverages, or sodas or other carbonated drinks. If certain eating or drinking habits trigger heartburn, your symptoms may resolve if you reduce your consumption or avoid them. But if you experience heartburn regularly, it’s a good idea to consult your healthcare provider for advice . And to ensure your health don’t miss these 101 Health Habits You Didn’t Know Were Deadly.
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview , and many others. Read more