Heartburn

Pyrosis; Non-cardiac chest pain

Heartburn is a painful burning feeling just below or behind the breastbone. Most of the time it comes from the esophagus. The pain often rises in your chest from your stomach. It may also spread to your neck or throat.

Digestive system

The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

Hiatal hernia - X-ray

This X-ray shows the upper portion of the stomach protruding through the diaphragm (hiatal hernia).

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up into the chest through the sheet of muscle called the diaphragm. This may result from a weakening of the surrounding tissues and may be aggravated by obesity and/or smoking.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

A band of muscle fibers, the lower esophageal sphincter, closes off the esophagus from the stomach. If the sphincter does not close properly, food and liquid can move backward into the esophagus and cause heartburn and other symptoms known as gastroesophageal disease (GERD). To alleviate symptoms dietary changes and medications are prescribed. For a patient who has persistent symptoms despite medical treatment, an anti-reflux operation may be an option.

Causes

Home Care

When to Contact a Medical Professional

What to Expect at Your Office Visit