Heartburn is a condition characterized by a burning feeling in the chest and a sour or bitter taste in the mouth. Heartburn usually develops when the acidic contents of the stomach flow back, or regurgitate, into the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Approximately one in ten adults experience heartburn once a week. Heartburn is more common in pregnant women because of the pressure the expanding uterus exerts on the stomach. When you swallow, the lower esophageal sphincter, a circular band of muscle around the bottom part of your esophagus, relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. When it relaxes at the wrong time, stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus, even though you're in an upright position. The acid backup is worse when you're bent over or lying down.
Some factors that can cause the sphincter to relax abnormally include: Fatty foods
Chocolate, caffeine, onions, spicy foods, mint and some medications Alcohol
Lying down soon after eating
Tranquilizers, such as benzodiazepines including diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) Theophylline (Slo-Bid, Theo-Dur), an asthma medication Being overweight
The amount of gastric juice produced by the stomach varies from person to person. People that produce more gastric acid are referred to as hyper secretors'. People that produce less gastric acid are known to be hypo secretors'. Antacids can also be used to help heal duodenal ulcers. These ulcers occur in the upper part of the intestines. They can also be combined with other medications to help treat gastric ulcers and acid reflux. Heartburn is generally diagnosed with a complete description of the symptoms. In severe cases, a physician may order a barium X ray of the stomach and...