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21 Aug, 2018

Pyrosis or heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest. This is often accompanied by a bitter or acidic feeling in the throat and mouth. A mild heartburn may be caused due to overeating while lying down or bending over. This is common and it disappears on its own. But a chronic or severe heartburn could mean a serious condition or disorder and needs to be attended to immediately.



  • Acid reflux: This occurs when lower esophageal sphincter muscle weakens and fails to function properly. Stomach acids leak into the esophagus (the tube connecting the throat to the stomach) and irritate it, causing a burning sensation.
  • GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease is characterized by chronic and frequent acid reflux so as to interfere with living a normal life. This requires medical treatment (or surgery) as it can seriously damage the esophagus.
  • Hiatal hernia: This occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the progesterone hormone relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, thus leading to acid reflux.
  • Some lifestyle choices can also lead to chronic heartburn, such as smoking, eating a lot of spicy food, obesity, etc.



  • Painful burning sensation in the chest (especially after having a meal)
  • Burn increases when lying down or bending over
  • Mouth tastes bitter



  • X-ray:  This is done to observe the shape and condition of your esophagus and stomach.
  • Endoscopy: This is done to check for abnormalities in your esophagus. A tissue sample (biopsy) may also be sampled for laboratory analysis.
  • Acid probe tests: This analyzes the time and the duration that the stomach acids go back up into your esophagus.
  • Esophageal motility testing: This measures the esophagus movement and pressure.
  • Acid pH test: This is to determine the extent of acidity.



  • Antacids: They neutralize stomach acids and provide rapid relief. However, they can't heal a damaged esophagus.
  • H-2-receptor antagonists: They reduce the production of stomach acids. They act slowly as compared to antacids but provide longer relief.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: These also inhibit the production of stomach acids. Common drugs of this type are lansoprazole and omeprazole.
  • Surgery: GERD which cannot be treated with medications may require surgery such as fundoplication (wrapping the top part of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter to tighten the area around it) or insertion of the LINX device, which is a ring of magnetic beads inserted around the sphincter, thus tightening it due to magnetic attraction.


Advice for prevention

  • Avoid foods that trigger a heartburn (e.g. spicy foods, onions, citrus fruits, tomatoes, carbonated drinks, etc.)
  • Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol
  • Avoid eating too much at a time
  • Eat your meals at proper times and maintain regularity
  • Avoid bending over or lying down immediately after a meal
  • Maintain a healthy weight