What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn?

Heartburn can come in many forms and be triggered by a number of causes. Understanding heartburn symptoms can not only treat heartburn, but it can help prevent it as well.  

Although each individual experiences heartburn in his or her own way, there are common symptoms most people can recognize. For most people, it’s a burning feeling in the chest just behind the breast bone. This sensation is caused by acid refluxing into the esophagus and typically occurs after eating, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to hours.

The pain can worsen by bending over, lifting, or lying down, particularly on the back. Some people experience a burning in the throat or a sensation of a hot, sour acidic or salty taste in the back of the throat. Other symptoms that might be associated with heartburn are difficulty swallowing, the sticking feeling in chest or throat, or a chronic cough sore throat or hoarseness. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, contact your doctor. They might be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which needs to be diagnosed.

To better understand what might be triggering your heartburn, begin keeping a diary of your symptoms. Use a diary to take notes on the following details:

  • Timing– When did the heartburn symptoms start and how long did they last?

  • Food intake– What did you eat or drink just before the symptoms occurred?

  • Symptoms– What were the symptoms and where did they appear?

  • Severity– How severe were the symptoms?

  • Effect – How did the symptoms affect you?

  • Action– What did you do to alleviate the symptoms?

  • Medication– What, if any, medications did you take to treat the symptoms?

If you decide to contact a doctor, the heartburn symptom diary will help them better understand why you experience heartburn and the kinds of treatment that will most likely ease your symptoms.

While reporting your symptoms might be enough to make the diagnosis in some cases, the doctor might decide to perform different tests to determine the severity of your condition.

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