Learn About Heartburn
Heartburn can be painful and disruptive. Learn about the symptoms of heartburn and tips on how to help minimize or avoid it.
What Is Heartburn?
Everyone produces stomach acid to help with digestion. If your stomach produces too much acid, heartburn symptoms can occur. This happens when stomach acid moves up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Occasional heartburn can be caused by diet and lifestyle choices. It's important to know that different people experience heartburn in different ways. You may have heartburn if you have one or more of these symptoms:
- Painful burning in the chest, just behind the breastbone, typically 1 to 4 hours after eating
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
- Excessive burping
- A hoarse, sore throat
- Coughing or choking while lying down
- Sleep problems after eating
Heartburn can mimic a heart attack. If you have any doubt about the source of your pain, get emergency treatment immediately.
Heartburn happens. But there are more than a few things you can do to keep the burn at bay. Some simple changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in how often you get heartburn—and how severe it feels.
Here are a few quick tips to help avoid heartburn or keep it from getting worse:
- Do not lie flat or bend over soon after eating
- Do not eat late at night, or just before bedtime
- Do not exercise right after eating
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Consider quitting smoking
- Raise the head of your bed 4 to 8 inches
- Wear loose-fitting clothing around your stomach
- Manage your heartburn symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes