What does heartburn feel like?
Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 10, 2019.
Heartburn is usually felt as a burning pain rising from the stomach to the esophagus. Other symptoms may include:
- A feeling that food is stuck behind your breastbone or feeling like there is a lump in your throat
- Chest pain
- Feeling sick after eating food.
Other not-so-common symptoms include:
- Bringing food back up (regurgitation)
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness or a noticeable change in your voice or developing a sore throat.
Heartburn is a common symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This is a condition caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a ring of muscle fibers that prevents swallowed food from moving back up the esophagus and normally remains tightly closed... until we swallow. People with heartburn and GERD have a weakened LES that allows partly digested stomach contents to leak back up the esophagus - causing symptoms.
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