Is it Normal to Have Heartburn for Days?
You’ve just had a lovely evening where the food was tasty and the wine just kept pouring. It was a night to remember, but you know that your chest is going to remember it, too. No sooner do you get home than you start to feel that horrible burning sensation in your chest: heartburn.
Like its name suggests, heartburn feels like a hot, painful burning sensation in your chest. In addition to the tell-tale chest pain, you might also feel:
- Pain that’s worse at night or when lying down
- A bitter taste in the mouth
- Excess gas
- Bad breath
How Long Does Heartburn Last?
Usually the symptoms of heartburn are short term, lasting only a few hours. If you are experiencing frequent heartburn that lasts for significant periods of time, you may be suffering from a more serious condition called GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause chronic acid reflux and disrupt your daily life if it is severe enough. So if you have persistent heartburn you should speak to your GP.
Heartburn Causes and Risk Factors
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid coming up through the oesophagus. This acid is what causes the chest pain and, if it travels high enough, it can cause pain in the throat as well. Poor digestion, excess production of stomach acid, and certain substances can make it more likely that you will experience heartburn.
Certain foods and drinks are known to be common triggers for heartburn so if you get it often, it’s worth limiting or stopping your intake of things like:
- Spicy food
- Acidic foods
- Acidic drinks
- Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
- Fizzy drinks
- Overly fatty foods
Being significantly overweight or being pregnant have also been shown to make a person more likely to develop heartburn.
Preventing and Treating Heartburn
In addition to making changes to your diet, there are some habits you should adopt if you frequently get heartburn.
- Avoid eating close to bedtime. Your body needs time to digest food properly and if you lie down, this can slow the process and lead to heartburn.
- Exercise regularly and try to keep to a healthy weight.
- Take heartburn medications for more immediate relief.