What causes heartburn?
While this sensation is called heartburn, the pain is actually coming from the oesophagus which lies behind the heart and gives the condition its name. Gastric juice plays an important role in heartburn. It consists, among others, of hydrochloric acid and some digestive enzymes. After food is broken down by the teeth, the gastric juice begins to digest the food further and kill off germs and pathogens. Heartburn occurs when gastric acid travels up into the oesophagus and irritates the mucous membranes. So, the cause of heartburn is not always too much acid, but acid in the wrong place due to disturbed stomach motility or hypersensitive oesophageal nerves.
The good news is that you can do a lot to turn the tide. It is not always easy to change your habits, but it's worth a try, since it may help you feel better soon. What is first perceived as a restriction, could quickly turn out to be a gain. However, if you experience heartburn for more than a month the cause should be reviewed with your healthcare professional. They can determine whether it is a symptom of a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) like irritable bowel syndrome or something completely different.