- Posted on: Sep 15 2017
Heartburn, the burning sensation that occurs either in the chest or the throat, is usually a temporary problem — maybe you ate some spicy food — but for some people, it can be chronic. Heartburn can be a condition on its own, but it can also be a sign of a more serious condition.
Causes of heartburn
When the acid of the stomach travels back up the esophagus heartburn occurs. In most people, this is just an occasional event. In a normal situation, after you swallow some food the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a circular band of muscles located at the bottom of your esophagus, allows the food to pass and flow down into the stomach. If the LES becomes weakened or is abnormally relaxed, stomach acid can flow back up into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn.
Here are some factors that can lead to heartburn:
- Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
- Hiatal hernia
- Certain medication
- Eating spicy or acidic foods
- Dry mouth
Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease
Heartburn is considered to be a primary symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you experience heartburn more than twice a week, along with the additional symptoms of a dry cough, hoarseness, vomiting, nausea, and difficulty swallowing, you may have GERD. This condition can cause extensive damage to the esophagus.
How we test for GERD at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay
To determine if your heartburn is related to GERD, we use a variety of tests:
- Esophageal acid testing
- Esophageal motility test to determine the amount of pressure placed on the esophagus
- X-rays of the upper digestive system
- Esophageal manometry
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
If you have frequent heartburn, we need to see you at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay. Call us at 801-387-2550 to make an appointment.
Posted in: Heartburn