If there is a burning pain in the pit of the stomach and behind the breastbone, which can extend into the throat and pharynx, and is often associated with belching, the doctor speaks of heartburn . The pain is triggered in the esophagus, called the esophagus. It is a muscular tube that moves the chyme into the stomach through movement. Usually, a sphincter prevents backflow from the stomach. Occasionally, however, the chyme may rise, mixed with stomach acid. The esophagus is usually able to push back the pulp, with a brief pain behind the breastbone occurring in the process. If the chyme mixed with the aggressive stomach acid remains in the esophagus for too long, the esophageal mucosa becomes irritated. heartburn occurs.

What can cause heartburn?

There are foods and life situations that promote heartburn by reducing muscle tension in the sphincter. Alcohol, nicotine, but also stress and restlessness are among them. Overfilling the stomach by consuming too much food also pushes the stomach contents back into the esophagus. Bending over or lying flat after a heavy meal increases the risk of heartburn. In addition, there can also be pathological causes , such as a pathological weakness of the sphincter muscle, called cardiac insufficiency. A disturbance in the transport capacity of the esophagus or a disturbed emptying of the stomach are also causes. If there are other symptoms in addition to heartburn, the doctor should be consulted for clarification. Accompanying symptoms can be pain in the pit of the stomach, a drop in performance, weight loss, pain when swallowing, dysphagia or signs of bleeding. Medical advice should also be sought if heartburn is frequent, especially in people over the age of 45. Children should always consult a doctor if they develop heartburn, as they rarely experience it.

consequences and treatment

Frequent heartburn can irritate the mucous membrane of the esophagus by the stomach acid in such a way that it becomes inflamed . The inflammation, esophagitis, can change the structure of the esophagus, causing scars and constrictions. Difficulty swallowing is the result, but also increased backflow of chyme from the stomach. As a result, a peptic ulcer, an ulcer in the esophagus, can form. The formation of the ulcer is known as Barrett's syndrome and is considered a precursor to carcinoma. Every tenth patient with chronic heartburn suffers from esophagitis. A peptic ulcer forms in every tenth esophagitis patient. Every tenth patient with an esophageal ulcer develops a secondary carcinoma. If heartburn occurs occasionally, antacids, H2 antagonists or herbal substances can initially be used for self-medication. Antacids act immediately and neutralize. H2 receptors start working after about 30 minutes. They block the H2 receptors in the stomach, which are responsible for acid production. Certain herbal supplements can ensure faster gastric emptying.

Viet Trinh

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