An Introduction To Heartburn
You might be surprised at how many Americans suffer from heartburn at a regular rate. According to leading health authorities, over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. So, it’s no wonder why so many people ask, ‘how long does heartburn last?’
Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to the question, how long does heartburn last? For some, it can last just a few minutes, for others, a few days, and still, for others, heartburn can last for a couple of days.
Despite the name, what you should know first off is that heartburn doesn’t have anything to do with your heart. If you want to answer the question, how long does heartburn last, you should first know that.
That answer will depend on several factors that we will discuss in subsequent sections of this article. However, if you are suffering from heartburn, you should not focus so much on how long does heartburn last but on how you might prevent it in the future and what may be causing it.
Definition Of Heartburn
Heartburn doesn’t have anything to do with your cardiovascular health. It may feel like the pain is coming from your heart, but it’s really coming from the muscles that connect your throat and stomach. How long does heartburn last? It may depend on these muscles.
How long does heartburn last may also depend on the severity of the acid. Since heartburn is essentially a leak of stomach acid into the food tube that connects the stomach and the throat, it may also depend on what you have eaten.
If you want to know how to prevent heartburn, you must first know what heartburn is. Heartburn takes the form of a burning sensation in your chest. You may feel pain or discomfort depending on the severity.
While it is not cause for immediate alarm, it can be an indication of a more serious condition. It can also be very disrupting and painful. That is why many people wonder how to prevent heartburn. Of course, the first thing you should know is that it is caused by stomach acid being where it shouldn’t be.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like?
So what does heartburn feel like? Heartburn usually manifests as a dull, consistent pain in the chest. It can also make you feel bloated like you have to keep burning. For some people, it may feel like a tightness or discomfort in the chest.
If you want to know how to prevent heartburn, then you should be very observant about how it makes you feel when you get it. That’s because depending on the severity (how much pain there is, how long it lasts etc.), there may be different ways to treat it.
The Difference Between Acid Reflux And Heartburn
While heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, how to treat heartburn will depend on understanding that acid reflux is its condition. In other words, just because you get heartburn every once in a while doesn’t mean you have acid reflux.
Acid reflux may also come with additional symptoms apart from heartburn, such as a sore throat, a bitter, acidic taste in the mouth, nausea, bloating, and excessive belching. How to treat heartburn may depend on whether or not you are dealing with acid reflux disease.
What Can Cause Heartburn?
If you have ever asked, what does ‘heartburn feel like?’ then you have probably also wondered what causes it in the first place. Unfortunately, heartburn can be caused by many things. In essence, though, heartburn occurs when the esophageal sphincter doesn’t close properly and allows stomach acid into the throat.
It can also be exacerbated by certain foods like onions, garlic, citrus, tomatoes, coffee, soda, or simply foods that are high in fat. Being pregnant can also increase your chances of getting heartburn. You may know what heartburn feels like if you are obese or a smoker.
Certain lifestyle habits like drinking excessively or dealing with high levels of stress regularly can also familiarize you with what heartburn feels like.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn?
If you have ever asked ‘what heartburn feels like’ then you may have been lucky enough to have never experienced it. So you should know the symptoms in case you ever have to deal with them. It’s important to know that heartburn itself may be a symptom of acid reflux disease.
Heartburn may also be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. The symptoms of heartburn itself may include:
- Burning pain in the chest
- Chest tightness
- Discomfort in the chest
- A bloated feeling
So, is heartburn dangerous? Thankfully, the answer to that question is a general no if you are experiencing a standalone case of heartburn. However, if you get heartburn regularly, permanent damage to your digestive tract might be possible.
Frequent heartburn may also be indicative of severe conditions so, if you are getting more than a few times a month, you should see a doctor. Keep in mind that the answer to the question ‘is heartburn dangerous?’ will be a subjective one.
Is There Any Home Remedy For Heartburn?
If you have ever wondered ‘is heartburn dangerous?’ then you may have also wondered if there are any home remedies for it. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to decrease your risk for heartburn:
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime. Allow at least a few hours to pass between your last meal and bedtime.
- Drink plenty of water
- Sit up straight when you are eating and try to improve your posture in general
- Limit or quit smoking
- Limit or quit drinking
- Avoid especially acidic foods
- Limit spicy foods
- Lose weight and get more exercise
- Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes during or directly after a meal
A home remedy for heartburn is more about making lifestyle choices than anything else. There are also antacids, acid blockers, and stomach coaters you can get over your counter or with a prescription. In general, though, you can seriously limit heartburn if you try one or all of the methods listed above.
The best home remedy for heartburn will depend on your specific case and lifestyle habits. Be mindful of your body and pay attention to the methods that work and which ones don’t.
Frequently Asked Questions About Heartburn
If your heartburn doesn’t go away after a couple of hours, it could be indicative of a more serious condition like GERD or acid reflux disease. This is when the answer to the question, ‘is heartburn dangerous,’ may become yes.
If you are getting it once a month and it doesn’t last for more than a few hours, then it probably isn’t dangerous.
Drinking water may help with heartburn because it can help neutralize the acid at the esophagus.
In most cases, yes. If you are dealing with a standalone case of heartburn and not something more serious like GERD or acid reflux disease, then your heartburn should go away in a few hours. Some may even be relieved after just a few minutes.
As always, making healthy lifestyle and diet choices is always the best advice and could be the very best home remedy for heartburn. Be sure to be mindful of not only what you eat but when you eat as well.
Avoid eating close to your bedtime and do your best to limit your alcohol intake and smoking if you smoke tobacco.