Heartburn Symptoms and Triggers

The most common telltale symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation, but it’s not the only one. While people experience heartburn differently, there are other common symptoms of heartburn to watch out for — as well as different heartburn triggers that can bring on pain and discomfort.

So, how do you know if you have heartburn instead of something more serious? Which foods, drinks and lifestyle choices can trigger heartburn? See these checklists to learn more about possible symptoms, and what causes heartburn.

Heartburn Symptoms

The most common heartburn symptoms are:

  • Burning and discomfort behind the breastbone
  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
  • Small amounts of stomach contents rising back up into your throat
  • A hoarse, sore throat
  • Coughing episode or hoarseness
  • Sleep disruption, especially if you’ve eaten within 2 hours of going to bed

Is it Heartburn? Or a Heart Attack?

While painful and disruptive, occasional heartburn isn’t a serious medical condition. However, more severe heartburn symptoms can sometimes feel like a heart attack — which does require immediate medical attention. How can you tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack?

To compare, here are the typical signs and symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain and discomfort that includes pressure, fullness, tightness and an aching or squeezing sensation
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulder, back, neck or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking into a cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, indigestion, vomiting, abdominal pain or heartburn
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

If you have any doubt about the source of your pain, or experience any of the symptoms associated with a heart attack, get emergency treatment immediately.

“The most common symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation, but it’s not the only one.”

Heartburn Triggers

Anticipating what causes heartburn can be tricky because triggers can differ from person to person. However, there are 3 main culprits that affect most sufferers: fatty foods, big meals and late-night snacking.

Common food and beverage triggers are:

  • Coffee (regular and decaffeinated) and other drinks that contain caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Fatty, greasy and fried foods
  • Vinegar
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy food
  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol, particularly red wine
  • Certain vegetables including raw onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes
  • Certain fruits and products like lemons, grapefruit, oranges and orange juice

Common lifestyle triggers include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes or asthma)
  • Certain prescription medications

As with any over-the-counter product, if you have any questions talk with your healthcare professional before taking heartburn medication. And see how Zantac 360°® can give you the flexibility to prevent or relieve heartburn.

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