Heartburn is the name given to the burning feeling or heat that begins in your chest and rises upwards to the throat. It usually comes in waves and is in response to stomach acid rising up through a valve from the stomach into the oesophagus (food pipe). In most cases, the burning sensation or pain is due to stomach acid irritating the unprotected oesophagus.
Heartburn usually happens after meals, when you go to bed or during the night, and can last for several hours or more. Many people suffer sleepless nights as a result of heartburn because the lying down position can contribute to the condition and increase the pain.
Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of GORD - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease. It might sound scary, but in most cases GORD is not a serious condition and is experienced by one in ten people every day. However, persistent episodes can damage the lining of the oesophagus, so have a chat with your GP or pharmacist if you’re at all concerned.