misc image

Our Services / Heartburn

misc image

About Heartburn

Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning sensation you feel in your chest or throat. The discomfort may last a few minutes or many hours. You can develop heartburn from any number of causes, but if you feel the burning sensation regularly, the board-certified physicians at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, recommend that you schedule a visit at one of their 13 locations throughout Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, University, Huntersville, and Pineville, North Carolina. Call or schedule your heartburn consultation online today. Telehealth appointments are available.

Heartburn Q & A

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a common condition that causes pain and irritation when food or liquid escapes the stomach and pushes upward into your esophagus. 

When food travels down your esophagus, the band of muscles between the lower part of the esophagus and stomach — the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) — opens, allowing food to pass into the stomach, and then it clamps tightly shut. 

You develop heartburn when the acidic contents from your stomach push up through the LES, splashing into the esophagus and irritating its thin lining. Certain foods, alcohol, medication, and pregnancy may cause heartburn. 

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

Most people with heartburn feel a burning sensation in the chest that moves upward toward the neck. You may also have a bitter or acidic taste in the back of your mouth.

The burning pain may last a few minutes or several hours and may make it hard to swallow. 

When should I seek medical help for heartburn?

It’s not uncommon to have occasional heartburn after eating certain foods. This type of heartburn goes away on its own or with over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

However, if you have heartburn two or more times a week, you should schedule a consultation at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA. Regular heartburn is a symptom of a more chronic condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

When left untreated, GERD may cause problems such as:

  • Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
  • Esophageal strictures (narrowing of the esophagus)
  • Barrett’s esophagus (tissue changes in the esophagus)

Though rare, Barrett’s esophagus may lead to esophageal cancer. 

For patients with chronic heartburn, Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, performs an upper endoscopy to evaluate the esophagus, looking for signs of damage.

What treatments can alleviate my heartburn?

The specialists at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, customize treatment plans for heartburn based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. 

Treatment may include:

  • OTC antacids
  • Weight loss
  • Diet modification
  • Not eating too close to bedtime

In severe cases, the experts may prescribe medication that lowers stomach acid production or improves LES function. 

Don’t ignore your heartburn. Call Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, or schedule a consultation online today.