Most people experience a mild case of heartburn. And, only a small percentage of the adult population suffers from what is called a chronic or severe heartburn. Basically, chronic heartburn is where the problem lasts for long periods of time and it occurs with a much greater frequency.
If you suffer from extremely painful heartburn more than twice a week, then you are suffering from chronic heartburn. It is also a sign of a much more serious illness.
Heartburn is also called acid reflux, pyrosis, and even acid indigestion just to name a few. Basically, the root cause for heartburn is lifestyle or diet. Improper lifestyle and diet can relax the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, which will prevent it from closing properly. When this happens, the acid in your stomach will come in contact with the esophagus, which ultimately causes you to experience what we all know as heartburn.
As a chronic heartburn sufferer, you have to know about the contributing factors.
One is called GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This is a common disease that is characterized by the stomach acid flowing backward in to the esophagus repeatedly. This will cause burning chest pain and it can also damage the esophagus, which can lead to bleeding and scarring.
It will also make it harder for you to swallow and if GERD is left untreated, it can lead to more serious medical problems, such as cancer of the esophagus and even stomach cancer.
People with this disease will suffer many sleepless nights because of the pain. As a result, people with GERD will live a lower quality of life. GERD is a disabling disease that can hinder you from living a normal life.
Aside from heartburn, GERD has other possible symptoms, such as belching, bad breath and inflamed gums. You can treat GERD with H2 antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, and antacids.
Another contributing factor for heartburn is Hiatal Hernia. This can also cause you to experience persistent heartburn or pyrosis and if it is already affecting your quality of life, surgical intervention may be needed to treat the problem.
Basically Hiatal Hernia occurs when the stomach protrudes upwards through the hiatus, which is a space in the diaphragm. When this happens, it can put pressure on the LES, which prevents it from closing properly and therefore let stomach acid flow in to the esophagus freely.
Chronic heartburn can be treated with antacids and lifestyle changes. But, it is important that you should try and seek medical attention to treat the underlying causes of chronic heartburn.
So, if you are already experiencing heartburn more than twice a week, you should immediately seek medical help. The doctor will diagnose what is causing you to experience heartburn and will give you the necessary treatment to lessen the frequency of heartburn and also treat the underlying causes.
Your doctor may give you medications to stop the stomach from producing excessive acid and they may even suggest surgery to treat your heartburn problem as well as the condition causing it to happen.