Advertisement

How does heartburn occur?

Heartburn occurs when the sphincter separating the esophagus from the stomach is weak. When this sphincter is weak and does not keep the acid in the stomach, but instead allows the acid to travel up to the esophagus, this can cause a symptom called heartburn.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The epicenter of the heartburn problem is the juncture between the stomach and the esophagus, the gastroesophageal sphincter. During normal digestion this band of muscle relaxes to allow swallowed food to enter from the esophagus into the stomach and contract when it is done. The stomach contains gastric juices, hydrochloric acid and enzymes that begin the process of digestion. When the sphincter pressure is lax, it causes the backflow of acid into the esophagus. It can cause burning pain or worse, damage sensitive tissue not accustomed to coming into contact with caustic stomach contents.

Continue Learning about Heartburn

PPIs and the Risk of Kidney Damage
PPIs and the Risk of Kidney Damage
When OJ Simpson was sent to jail in 2008 for robbery and kidnapping (not murder), it was for 33 years. Lots of people though that long-term verdict wa...
Read More
What medications treat heartburn?
TriStar Centennial Medical CenterTriStar Centennial Medical Center
If you’ve made all the lifestyle changes necessary to treat heartburn and you’re still suffering, th...
More Answers
What is heartburn?
Atlanta Gastroenterology AssociatesAtlanta Gastroenterology Associates
Heartburn is usually experienced as a burning sensation or pain behind the breastbone or a backup of...
More Answers
The New Treatment for Chronic Heartburn
The New Treatment for Chronic Heartburn

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.