Heartburn is the most common symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Other symptoms include regurgitation of food, a burning feeling in the chest or throat, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes chest pain. (Note: there can be similarities between heartburn and heart attack symptoms. If you have chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or any warning signs of a heart attack. seek immediate medical attention.)
There are a number of common culprits that cause heartburn including fatty foods, late night meals and overeating. A loaded cheeseburger at 10 pm is not a good idea if you’re prone to heartburn. Specific foods that are known to cause heartburn include:
- Onions, garlic, mustard and other spicy foods/condiments
- Citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges
- Caffeinated drinks including, coffee, tea and soft drinks
- Some medications and some forms of exercise can also set off heartburn
Relief starts by being aware of the foods or activities that trigger heartburn for you:
- Avoid specific foods and beverages that you know cause discomfort.
- Consider a diet if you’re overweight. Extra weight increases pressure on your stomach, forcing more acid into the esophagus.
- Eat 4–6 small meals instead of 2-3 large ones.
- Research options for over-the-counter medications.
Depending on the severity of your heartburn and other symptoms; treatment for heartburn and other GERD- related symptoms may include lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery. If lifestyle changes or medication don't help, Dr. Bhatti may perform an EGD to biopsy or obtain images your upper GI tract.