What does heartburn feel like? – This is a question commonly asked by people who’ve heard of heartburn but haven’t really experienced it yet. Still, there are some who have experienced the symptoms of heartburn but were unaware what it was. Most often, people mistake heartburn for a heart attack.
Heartburn is called so because of a burning sensation or pain felt behind the breastbone. It is in no way related to the heart nor is it a form of heart disease. Heartburn symptoms are often mistaken as heart attack though and many people have made unnecessary trips to the hospital just to find out they are not really having heart attack, instead they are having some trouble with their digestion.
Answering the Question: What Does Heartburn Feel Like?
So, what does heartburn feel like? A person experiencing heartburn will most likely feel the following:
- A burning sensation in the upper abdomen that spreads or moves to the chest.
- The chest feels like it is on fire (thus the name heartburn).
- Sometimes, the burning sensation reaches the throat.
- Mouth tastes bitter and sour.
- There’s pressure rising from the stomach which makes it feel like the food you’ve just eaten is coming back up to the throat.
- Sometimes, a person would experience some difficulty breathing and/or swallowing.
Why Does Heartburn Occur?
There are several reasons why we experience heartburn and what these are, are worth asking just like the question: What does heartburn feel like?
- The stomach is full and is having difficulty digesting all the food. Heartburn is experienced usually after partaking of a big meal. The stomach is just so full it is distended and the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that closes the esophagus) or LES is having difficulty closing. If the LES cannot close properly, acid and food from the stomach goes up the esophagus causing the burning pain and the sensation of food going back up the throat.
- There are foods that cause heartburn like tomatoes, chocolates and fried or fatty foods. These foods relax the LES allowing acid to seep in and irritate the esophagus.
- Drinking too much alcohol (wine, beer, etc) also causes acids in the stomach to be produced in high amounts. Alcohol also relaxes the LES.
- Smoking causes the LES to relax leading to heartburn.
- Pregnancy often causes heartburn in women.
- Being overweight also causes heartburn.
It is not enough to simply ask ‘What does heartburn feel like?’, you should also be aware of the reasons heartburn occurs. Knowing how to identify the symptoms of heartburn will enable you to get relief right away but knowing what causes it will enable you to prevent it and save yourself from the discomfort.