Heartburn is a medical condition wherein the patient experiences a burning sensation in the chest. The sensation may be mild or extremely painful, depending on the severity of the condition. Heartburn is also called acid indigestion. Some people use heartburn and dyspepsia interchangeably although this is a debatable point.
How do you know if you have heartburn? Anyone who has heartburn will tell you that you will definitely know if you have it. It can be quite painful and scary if you do not know what it is - some have even mistaken heartburn for a heart attack! Generally, though, you will experience that painful burning sensation in your chest soon after eating. It also often occurs at night. More so, the pain becomes worse when you lie down or bend over.
Heartburn is caused by acid from the stomach that goes up into the esophagus. Obviously, this is not normal - the acid is supposed to stay down, and the muscle responsible for this is the lower esophageal sphincter. When this muscle is weakened, it doesn’t close as it is supposed to, resulting in the reflux of acid into the esophagus.
Many people suffer from heartburn occasionally. In these cases, there really is no need to worry. Over-the-counter medication can deal with this easily. If, however, you suffer from heartburn on a regular basis - especially if the pain gets in the way of your daily routine - you have to see a doctor for treatment that will have long term effects.