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What is the difference between heartburn and acid reflux?

People use these terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This causes heartburn, a feeling of pain, tightness or discomfort in the middle of the chest.

Heartburn and acid reflux are different in that acid reflux is a medical condition and heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. In acid reflux, acid in the stomach moves backward from the stomach into the esophagus or feeding tube. Heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux and is a pain or discomfort in the chest that is caused by acid refluxing into the esophagus. It is often a burning sensation that can be associated with nausea, vomiting, burping, coughing, or a sour taste in the mouth.

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Heartburn, or acid reflux, is acidic stomach fluid regurgitating into the esophagus.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.