Heartburn: Essential Information

Heartburn is a common health problem for most people. Statistics indicate that heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans at least once a month and 15 million Americans are troubled by it on a daily basis. Most people are under the false premise that heartburn is caused ONLY by food irritants. While there are many foods that do encourage heartburn, it can also be caused by an underlying health issue.

The most common causes of heartburn include:

  • Alcohol
  • Fatty Foods
  • Obesity
  • Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Stress


Treatment for heartburn can be achieved by diet and lifestyle changes.  The first step is to understand the condition. Most people who suffer from light to moderate cases of heartburn find relief in over-the- counter products designed to reduce the acid in the gastrointestinal tract.

Unfortunately, heartburn can create a burning sensation in the esophagus that is painful and uncomfortable. In severe cases, heartburn has even been known to mimic the same symptoms of a heart-attack.

Our goal is to shed some light about lesser known facts regarding the condition of heartburn. Additionally, it is vital to understand when advanced treatment may be required, because not every person will find relief from an OTC product.


  1. GERD and Heartburn Are Not the Same - Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a condition that causes indigestion and heartburn. Often times the two terms, (heartburn and GERD) are used interchangeably, though they are two separate conditions. GERD is a disease that affects the ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. Heartburn is a condition where acid is forced back up through the esophagus from the stomach.
  2. The Link Between Hiatal Hernias and Heartburn - A hiatal hernia is when the upper portion of the stomach pushes directly into your diaphragm. The diaphragm is the membrane that basically covers the stomach and it has a narrow opening. It is flexible in that it moves in a way to support breathing and also keeps food contents down into the stomach. There are two types of hiatal hernias, a sliding hernia, and a paraoesophageal hernia. Typically, the sliding hernias is responsible for belching and regurgitation. However, paraoesophageal hernias can be more serious in nature and require immediate medical attention.
  3. Sleep Quality Matters When It Comes to Managing Heartburn Symptoms - Clinical studies revealed that sleeping on the right side can result in heartburn. The reason is not exactly clear. There is speculation that lying down on the ride side relaxes the esophageal sphincter. In addition, research shows a relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and GERD. Determining the factors that are contributing to your heartburn symptoms can be achieved by scheduling an appointment with gastroenterology specialists nearest you.
  4. Medications Can Cause Heartburn Symptoms - Just like some foods, certain medications and supplements can cause heartburn symptoms. It is always a good idea to check with your prescribing physician for a list of potential side effects. If you have an existing condition, you might need to discuss treatment options.
  5. Vaping and Second-hand Smoke Trigger Heartburn - Vaping forums have a popular topic on most of their feeds. Most users complain of frequent heartburn or acid reflux. Unfortunately, cigarette smokers and people who indulge, are finding out vaping isn’t the healthier alternative to cigarette smoking everyone thought it might be. The vapors inhaled through e-cigarettes contain chemicals that are harmful to the upper respiratory system and can trigger heartburn and other adverse conditions.


Consulting with a specialist may help you understand your condition better. Through specialized testing, you may discover the root cause of your heartburn symptoms. Even better, a personalized plan for treatment can be established. Most people are unaware of the seriousness of heartburn-related symptoms. There are certain health conditions that could require surgery – especially if your heartburn has been persistent.


●        Burning Sensations in Your Chest

●        Problems Swallowing

●        Difficulty Sleeping

●        Sensation of Lump in Your Throat

●        Regurgitation

●        Pain in your stomach, throat, or chest

●        Unexplained Weight Loss

●        Spitting Up Blood

●        Fever

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you should not hesitate to contact a doctor. In our practice, we see a lot of patients, and one of the things we hear the most is, “I should have made an appointment sooner.” The symptoms of heartburn can be very painful. Consulting with a medical professional can assist in resolving your condition and improving your quality of life. 


Our practice, Saratoga Schenectady Gastroenterology Associates is located in Saratoga, NY. Scheduling an appointment is easy and convenient. You will find our board-certified doctors to be approachable and committed to delivering the best in care standards. Contact our office today with any questions or concerns.