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Heartburn: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

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Heartburn: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Cardiology | by Dr. Sabyasachi Pal | Published on 31/10/2023


Do you experience a burning sensation in your heart often? If yes, then it might indicate a condition called heartburn. It is a feeling of burning in the heart but is not really. The issue occurs in the esophagus, a swallowing tube running alongside the heart. This feeling occurs due to acid reflux from the stomach. Well, you don’t have to worry much about this problem as it is treatable. 

Most people experience heartburn often triggered by meals that are rich in acids or due to additional abdominal pressure like during pregnancy. 

If heartburn occurs frequently, then it is a sign of GERD or chronic acid reflux. The risk factors for heartburn are obesity, overweight, smoking, etc. 

If you experience heartburn symptoms often, you must book your appointment with BM Birla Heart Research Centre in Kolkata. You will find highly skilled and qualified healthcare professionals offering the best diagnosis and treatment options. 

In this blog, we will involve the discussion on everything related to heartburn. However, kindly note that the information included is research-based and we do not encourage overlooking the doctor’s consultation in any way. 

What is Heartburn? 

Heartburn is a painful and burning sensation in the heart or middle of the chest. However, it is not the heart but the stomach that causes this problem. When acid rises into the reflux running through the chest, it feels like a burning sensation in the heart. Most people experience this issue as it is an occasional sign for some indicating a chronic condition. If it is serious, then it means that the patient has gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. 

What are Heartburn Symptoms? 

It can be challenging to understand the difference between chest pain and heartburn sometimes. It is because the symptoms are similar and the patient finds it hard to explain the type of pain he/she is experiencing. Hence, consulting a doctor is essential and observing the symptoms. Here are some of the common heartburn symptoms that should be noticed: 

  • Food regurgitation 
  • Nausea 
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Burping 
  • Chronic cough
  • Hiccups 
  • Stomach bloating 
  • Severe asthma 
  • Laryngitis 
  • Chest pain that feels like angina
  • Sore throat

What are Heartburn Causes? 

Different reasons are there that cause heartburn such as: 

  • Regular smoke inhaling 
  • Additional abdominal pressure during pregnancy, body weight, or tight clothes
  • Heavy meals stretching the stomach 
  • A hiatal hernia that pushes up the stomach through the diaphragm
  • Indigestion or gas 
  • Foods and beverages like coffee, citrus fruits, tomato sauce, etc. 
  • Medications such as birth control, blood pressure medications 
  • Lying down instantly after eating foods 

How is Heartburn Diagnosed? 

The heartburn diagnosis is initiated by a healthcare provider through physical assessment, medical history, and diagnostic tests. Here are the steps followed to confirm the heartburn diagnosis:

  • First, the doctor will begin with a medical history and comprehend the patient’s symptoms, frequency, seriousness, and triggering factors. The doctor will also try to understand the intensity of the symptoms. 
  • In physical assessment, the doctor will look for complications signs, or other health problems leading to the symptoms.
  • A lifestyle change trial will be recommended by the doctor that usually involves lifestyle and dietary modifications to see if they eradicate the heartburn symptoms. If any improvement is seen, then it suggests that lifestyle is the primary cause, and depending on the causes the doctor can recommend the right treatment option.
  • Endoscopy is another form of diagnostic test recommended to confirm the heartburn diagnosis. Through this test, the doctor can view the esophagus and stomach lining to identify the irritation, damage, or inflammation signs.
  • pH Monitoring helps in understanding the acid reflux frequency and amount in the patient’s esophagus. 
  • The esophageal manometry test helps in assessing the muscles and coordination strength in the patient’s esophagus. It assists in determining problems with esophagus functioning that might lead to heartburn.
  • Barium swallow test benefits in revealing structural anomalies like strictures and hiatal hernias.

What are the options for Heartburn Treatment? 

Heartburn is one of the common conditions determined by a feeling of a burning sensation in the throat or chest but feels like it’s in the heart. Several options for heartburn treatment are available such as: 

  • Lifestyle and dietary changes- It is recommended to avoid trigger foods, eat smaller amounts of meals, maintain a healthy weight, elevate the head of your bed, and avoid lying down after eating.
  • Over-the-counter drugs- Doctors often recommend certain over-the-counter drugs such as antacids, H2 receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, etc. 
  • Prescription medications- If OTC drugs do not help achieve relief, the doctor might recommend strong medicines or a combination of therapies. 
  • Antireflux surgery- In rare cases like GERD, there might be a need for antireflux surgery to revive or correct anatomical problems leading to reflux. 
  • Natural remedies- There are natural remedies as well that can be involved such as aloe vera, ginger, or chamomile tea. However, it is vital to consult the doctor before trying them.


Heartburn is a common but discomforting condition that often interrupts the quality of life for an individual. It is vital to know that occasional heartburn is not a matter of concern but if it is frequent, then it can indicate GERD. Heartburn can be managed with lifestyle and diet changes or over-the-counter drugs. However, in certain cases, there might be a need for prescription medications or surgery. The best way to effectively manage this problem is by comprehending the triggers, involving a healthy and balanced diet, including making certain lifestyle changes as recommended by a doctor. Doctors also recommend to ensure frequent health checkups to ensure long-term good health.



How to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy fast?

You can try drinking milk with honey, eating yogurt, almonds, ginger, pineapple, and papaya, chewing sugar-free gum, and medications as suggested by the doctor. 

What to drink for heartburn relief?

Water, low-fat milk, and herbal teas are good options for heartburn relief.