What are the different causes of heartburn

Heartburn: causes, diagnosis, therapy

Heartburn - in a nutshell

  • Heartburn is the leading symptom for reflux disease (gastroesophageal reflux disease): a burning sensation under the breastbone, especially after meals and when lying down. Around a quarter of people in Western countries have reflux symptoms once a month. Often there is also belching of acidic gastric juice. Belching without acid is also possible.
  • There are also other causes from heartburn. An irritable stomach, an inflammation of the esophagus or the stomach lining, a stomach ulcer or a diaphragmatic hernia are just a few of them.
  • If the complaints After adjusting the diet, stop smoking and continue with an initial drug test treatment, the esophagus must be checked by means of an endoscopy.
  •  The therapy depends on the cause. Lifestyle changes and medicines - some of which are available in pharmacies without a prescription - can relieve heartburn. In mild cases, so-called antacids or H2-receptor antagonists help. Proton pump inhibitors are used for more severe symptoms or symptoms that last longer than two weeks. In addition, a solution to protect and regenerate the esophageal mucosa can be useful. Surgery is rarely indicated.

Heartburn: overview

The fat Sunday roast and one glass too many - who does not know the symptoms afterwards: It presses in the stomach, burns in the sternum area, sometimes up to the throat. Often a little acid comes up with it, sometimes even part of the "half-digested" food, especially if the belt is too tight or if you bend over. The unpleasant heartburn that such a reflux (Latin for "reflux") triggers often subsides quickly. So the whole thing is a physiological reflux.

A digestive walk helps best, the afternoon nap is less helpful. Because lying down flat only increases the burning sensation and belching. If you follow a lavish meal for a few days with light food (low-fat, no alcohol), you usually no longer have any problems.

However, some people also experience heartburn when they have not eaten for a long time and are really hungry. Beat others in turn stress and Grief on the stomach and promote the painful reflux. Some suffer less from burning pain, but are hoarse, have to clear their throat frequently or - especially in the morning - cough repeatedly. Heartburn is also a problem for many pregnant women when the child is pressing on the stomach, mostly in the last trimester of pregnancy. In addition, the increased hormone levels affect the elasticity of many tissues. The sphincter muscle in the esophagus becomes a little "looser" (see graphic).