Acid Indigestion & Heartburn Facts

Acid indigestion occurs when acidic stomach contents back up into the esophagus. Acid indigestion may cause the feeling of heartburn.

Heartburn is a burning sensation deep in the chest that often accompanies indigestion. But heartburn is caused by irritation of the esophagus from stomach acid. The discomfort may spread into your throat, giving you a sour taste in your mouth. Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, but the symptoms can feel similar to those of a heart attack. These symptoms can last as long as two hours and are often provoked by bending over, lying down or eating certain foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, garlic and onions. Normally, a muscular valve keeps stomach acid in the stomach, opening to allow food into the stomach, then closes again. Heartburn occurs when food and stomach juices back up into the esophagus, because the valve opens too often or doesn't close tight enough.

Occasional heartburn is common, particularly in adults. It is a weekly occurrence for up to 20% of Americans and very common if pregnant.

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use.

If you occasionally have a symptom of acid indigestion or heartburn, try Alka-Seltzer to relieve the discomfort. If your symptoms are more frequent or severe, consult a physician to rule out any underlying conditions.