What is heartburn? And, why?

Last week I think I got heartburn, for the first time. (And, hopefully, the last.) I was on a flight, and thought i was perhaps having a heart attack. Or acid reflux. I haven’t any experience with gastro-intestinal things, so I have no idea. It felt like something painful lodged just below my throat, and it made me nauseated and was quite uncomfortable. After about six hours it went away. I’ve heard it’s due to stress, empty stomach, too much caffiene. But I hadn’t done or eaten anything out of the ordinary, and my stress level is fairly low these days.

So…was this heartburn? And, what causes it, really?

Hearburn - Acid Reflux

What causes it. Eating foods like pizza, orange juice, or just plain old fatty and greasy foods will do.

Acid from your stomach will crawl up your esophagous when the flap that is there fails to keep closed. It’s like a valve at the entrance to your stomach. I myself find it worse when you eat and then lye down right away - so avoid that.

If you’re using lye when you eat, then I have an alternative theory about why your esophogus burns. :wink:

Sorry, I didn’t realize the grammar police were watching.

Carina- sometimes it is also an icy feeling that creeps up your throat (like the silvery mercury guy in Terminator).

I find the very best cure for it is to chew on some Rolaids or TUMS. Calcium carbonate rocks.

[sub]and Farmer, those police are always watching[/sub]

Sorry Wolfman, I just had to.
So is there anyone else trying to be two people? I was always told that you can either spend your life partying or go to school and get a real job? hehe I proved that theory wrong. I go to work at 8:00 every morning, hold down a good, well paying job as a computer programmer, working about 12 hours a day, then go out and party and drink too much every night. Being an insomniac helps, since I only get about 1.5 hoiurs of sleep on an average night. Is there anyone else in my clan, or am I the only one this stupid?
I’d be worried to hire you as computer programmer in your condition.

If you want to read up on it, go to this site: http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section3/chapter20/20g.htm

Sodium Bicarbonate is good for it. :slight_smile:

From a long-time GERD sufferer: Mix a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. It does the trick almost instantly and doesn’t cost 50¢ a dose, like many of the brand name antacids.

…And then drink it. You can’t take anything for granted with this crowd.

::playing the concerned father::

You know, speaking as one who has had a heart attack, it probably wouldn’t hurt to go to a doctor and make sure you’re OK. I had one almost 4 years ago (a heart attack, not a doctor), and I lowered the average age of the cardiac unit by about half. The worst that can happen is that you’ll pay the doctor for telling you it was heartburn.

::puts pipe in mouth, puts on fedora, and marches out the door, thus ending the father lecture::

Heartburn: a topic worthy of several textbooks! Briefly, first make sure it’s not a heart attack (consult your health professional). Then understand that anything that relaxes the sphincter separating the contents of the stomach from the esophagus can lead to reflux, the backwashing of the acidic contents of the stomach into the esophagus, which does not enjoy being bathed in acid, so will experience pain, and occasionally spasm.

Many things can relax this sphincter, most of them enjoyable. Alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, overly distended stomachs from large meals, certain anti-hypertension drugs, certain illicit drugs, gravity boots, different neurologic conditions. And that’s just a few items on the list. Occasional reflux is generally due to indulgence in one of the first 4 items. Antacids such as bicarbonate, maalox, tums, rolaids, or pepto-bismol can produce rapid relief. Acid blockers which stop the stomach from producing hydrogen ions, like pepcid, zantac, tagament to name but a few, act slower, but generally last longer.

OF course it could also be (besides heart trouble), ulcer disease, pancreatitis, gallbladder inflammation, hepatitis, kidney stones, or a rupturing aortic aneurism. So anything not aided by simple antacids should probably be run past a competent health professional.

a health professional
Notice I didn’t claim to be a competent one:)

This isn’t a gratuitous bump, I just want to thank the respondents!

Yikes. My SO is an MD (radiologist.) He said it sounded like heartburn & that it was about time I had something wrong with me. Iron constitutions are a family trait. None of us are ever ever sick or bothered by weird physical stuff. Now that I just turned 43, I’m starting to think that I should start worrying about things like heart attacks.

geez, thanks Qadgop and Knighted for making me a hypochrondiac! :slight_smile:

(ps those are two GREAT names!)

Sorry I’m late, be here’s a word of advice. Get help! Get help immediately! I had heartburn for years and I just figured, well I should stay away from coffee and spicy food. All of a sudden, it got worse. Much worse. But I, stubborn as a mule, thought there was nothing wrong with me. Until I felt like I had stomach acid coming out of my ears. I finally went to the doc who told me I was one lucky idiot, I was close to getting an ulcer. It was “just” gastritis, but hey, that’s bad enough. I’d been popping TUMS and the like for years, and apparently, that almost makes it worse, because I still had the problem but didn’t notice the symptoms.

Welcome back Qadgop the Magician. (Where’d you get that name anyway?) Sorry to hear about your computer infarction.

Hiatal hernia can lead to Barrett’s esophagus which is a precondition of a cancer. It is not to be taken lightly.

Thanks for the welcome, Barb. But it’s Mercotan, not magician. It’s from the profound and seminal works of that pioneering author, Sybly Whyte. Here’s a quote from his authoritative book “Qadgop the Mercotan”

Qadgop the Mercotan slithered flatly around the after-bulge of the
tranship. One claw dug into the meters-thick armor of pure neutronium,
then another. Its terrible xmex-like snout locked on. Its zymolosely
polydactyl tongue crunched out, crashed down, rasped across. Slurp!
Slurp! At each abrasive stroke the groove in the tranship’s plating
deepened and Qadgop leered more fiercely. Fools! Did they think that
the airlessness of absolute space, the heatlessness of absolute zero,
the yieldlessness of absolute neutronium could stop QADGOP THE
MERCOTAN? And the stowaway, that human wench Cynthia, cowering in
helpless terror just beyond this thin and fragile wall…