Heartburn, Hiatal Hernia, and GERD
- Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart.
- Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus caused by hydrochloric acid that refluxes (comes up) from the stomach.
- If heartburn symptoms occur frequently and persistently, it may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
- The esophagus is a narrow, muscular tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach.
- The esophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
- A sphincter (valve) at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach prevents reflux of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus.
- If the valve between the stomach and the esophagus opens too often or does not close tight enough, stomach acid can reflux or seep back into the esophagus, damaging it and causing the burning sensation that we know as heartburn.
- Acid reflux into the esophagus and throat, over time, may cause the following:
Barrett’s EsophagusCancer of the esophagusAdult-onset asthmaPossible cancer of the larynx.
The information contained in this site is for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. If you are suffering from a disease or ailment, you should consider seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable, licensed, health care professional. Please do not use this site to disregard any medical advice, because of something that you have read or seen. We have endeavored to ensure that the information contained in this site is correct, however, we cannot guarantee its accuracy.