The burning feeling occurring in the chest after eating which lasts for a few minutes to several hours is called as heartburn. This is caused by acid reflux or the flowing back of digestive juices from the stomach to the esophagus due to the damages of the sphincter muscle separating esophagus and stomach. The stomach is the part of the digestive system where digestion occurs with the help of digestive juices and enzymes.
These juices are acidic in nature and our stomach is protected from these juices by special cells lining the interior of the stomach. When these acidic juices reflux back into the esophagus it causes irritation as esophagus does not have the protective lining. The pain of acid reflux (heartburn) can be in the lower chest or it can spread out to the back of the throat. If there is acid reflux near the larynx in the throat, it may cause coughing and hoarseness of voice.
Causes Of Heartburn
Heartburn is actually a symptom of another condition called GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). Risk factors of heartburn include those which increase the production of acid in the stomach. The foods that we eat and drink can stimulate increased secretion of stomach acid. Some of the irritants that cause heartburn includes • Caffeine • Carbonated drinks • Alcohol • Acidic fruit juices such as grapefruit, pineapple, orange etc • Chocolates • Spicy foods • Smoking The other factors which acts as a cause of heartburn includes pregnancy, hiatal hernia, obesity etc.