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.
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Hi, I'm Dr. Janese Laster, a board certified gastroenterologist and today, I'm here to help you understand your heartburn symptoms and what you can do about it.
Heartburn symptoms can be very different from person to person.
For instance, some might have a burning sensation in the chest or throat or a sour taste in their mouth.
Symptoms can include: Burning sensation in the chest or throat Sour taste in the mouth Abdominal discomfort
Once you know your own symptoms, you can figure out what's triggering your heartburn.
Triggers can include: Citrus fruits Tomatoes Pizza Spicy foods Onions Alcohol Carbonated or caffeinated beverages
Does it come on at night when you lay down after eating a big dinner or is it after eating spicy meals or drinking coffee?
Knowing your triggers can also help you prevent heartburn before it starts.
Taking a histamine 2 blocker like Zantac 360 Degrees before you eat can reduce acid production and minimize heartburn symptoms.
Visual: ZANTAC 360° Contains the #1 doctor recommended active ingredient approved to both prevent and relieve heartburn - among unbranded acid reducer recommendations. Use as directed.
If you forget, you can take it after for long lasting acid control. Acid control does not correlate to symptom relief.
Understanding your symptoms and specific triggers is key to making informed choices from lifestyle to medication and better manage your heartburn.
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
- 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.”
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
- Spicy food
- 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:
- 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.