What does heartburn after food say: causes and treatment in adults

Discomfort, burning, belching with an unpleasant odor and a sour taste in the mouth after eating - these are the symptoms that can significantly overshadow the life of each person.

The causes of heartburn after eating, there is a mass, but one of the most common is the abuse of harmful foods.

In some cases, heartburn is a constant companion, which indicates the presence of gastrointestinal pathologies. Burning in the esophagus often worries pregnant women, and even young children. But it is important to remember that heartburn is not an independent disease, but only one of the symptoms of numerous pathological processes.

If heartburn disturbs the person constantly, it should become the strong basis for the reference to the gastroenterologist. In this situation, self-medication is excluded, since it can lead to the most serious and severe consequences.

What it is?

Heartburn is a feeling of discomfort, heat or burning behind the sternum, spreading from the epigastric region along the esophagus. This symptom arises, mostly 1-2 hours after eating, especially if it was too acute or heavy. In some cases, heartburn may be observed after physical activity, with torso torso or prolonged stay in a horizontal position.

Causes of heartburn

The main cause of heartburn is the increased acidity of gastric juice. Less often, burning in the esophagus can reduce acidity, accompanied by increased sensitivity of the mucosa of the esophagus and stomach. Often, patients with heartburn diagnosed with various gastrointestinal diseases, but in some cases this symptom is is caused by neuropsychic disorders, and manifests itself after a certain time after eating.

Another frequent provoker of heartburn is a wrong lifestyle, or the abuse of harmful food. The most common factors causing this malaise include:

  • alcohol abuse or chronic alcoholism;
  • smoking;
  • excessive passion for carbonated drinks;
  • abuse of coffee and strong black tea;
  • the use of spicy seasonings in large quantities;
  • binge eating;
  • taking aspirin, ibuprofen, orthophene - these drugs increase the acidity of gastric juice and lead to its casting into the esophagus;
  • stress and nervous disorders.

To cause the appearance of heartburn can use a lot of citrus fruits, sour vegetables, tomatoes, bananas, apples, freshly baked bread, fried and fatty foods, pickles. Sleep after eating can also cause burning in the esophagus.

Other provoking factors often become:

  • clenching the abdomen with a tight strap;
  • lifting weights;
  • obesity or excess weight, leading to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure;
  • period of pregnancy.

Good helps to stop an unpleasant symptom of ordinary water. If the heartburn does not go away, resort to the use of antacids - drugs that reduce the effect of acid on the mucosa of the esophagus.

Diseases, a sign of which can be heartburn

If heartburn after eating arises regularly, it can not be ignored. And even more so, we should not treat it as a separate problem. Often it is one of the symptoms of the pathology of the digestive tract:

  1. Chronic gastritis. In this case, heartburn can develop both against the background of increased and reduced acidity of the stomach. Associated signs of pathology are also pain (aching, cutting, stitching) in the area of ​​the central part of the abdomen or stomach. In this case, pain and heartburn manifests itself 1-2 hours after eating.
  2. Stomach ulcer or duodenal ulcer. In this case, an increase in the concentration of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juice is detected.
  3. Reflux disease (GERD), in which the motor skills of the stomach and small intestine are disturbed. This pathology is often accompanied by inflammatory processes in the tissues of the esophagus. In 75% of cases with GERD, the contents of the stomach are reflected in the esophagus.
  4. Esophagitis - inflammation of the mucous esophagus. This pathology often becomes a consequence of GERD, or one of its complications. To get rid of heartburn and other symptoms accompanying it, an integrated therapeutic approach is needed.
  5. Hernias of the food aperture of the diaphragm. This disease is accompanied by the displacement of part of the stomach, and sometimes the intestine loops in the chest area. If the locking mechanisms do not work properly, or do not perform enough, heartburn after eating will be a constant companion of the patient.

In addition to these pathologies, other pathologies that are not related to the gastrointestinal tract can serve as the causes of burning behind the sternum. The most common ailment is angina, which is often successfully "masked" for heartburn. For this reason, heartburn should not be neglected. If she often worries the patient, see a doctor and get the diagnosis necessary!

During pregnancy

Pregnant women often complain of heartburn. This symptom is especially bright in the early stages, but it can continue up to the time of delivery. Sometimes the symptom itself passes, but often a woman needs to seek help from a doctor who prescribes effective medications that are safe during this period of the patient's life.

Such heartburn is not dangerous - it is caused by physiological changes that occur in the body of a future mother. In pregnancy, there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, which leads to an increase in the uterus in size. As a result, the level of progesterone in the blood of the expectant mother is significantly increased. Overeating and eating fatty, salty or acute during pregnancy can also cause heartburn. Apples and bananas are also capable of producing this symptom.

To get rid of heartburn during pregnancy, you must either use folk remedies (herbs), or seek medical advice from a doctor. Independently take drugs that reduce the acidity of the stomach, you can not - many of them are strictly contraindicated to future moms!

What are the symptoms?

Burning of the patient's sternum can be disturbed by the following symptoms:

  • the burning in the upper segment of the abdomen, which can give into the esophagus and throat;
  • discomfort is enhanced by tilting or taking a recumbent position;
  • After an hour, bitterness occurs in the mouth, or an unpleasant, sour taste develops;
  • eructation with an unpleasant odor;
  • a fit of nausea;
  • feeling of heaviness in the stomach.

If you have the above symptoms, you can try to deal with them yourself. But in a situation where they occur often, and worry the patient more and more, you need to turn to the gastroenterologist.

Heartburn, which arose against the background of taking certain medications, deserves special attention. In this case, the attending physician will adjust the therapy regimen, or prescribe another remedy for the patient.

Do not hesitate to contact a specialist if there is a decrease or loss of appetite, a feeling of constant fatigue, the appearance of pain in the chest or back with an attack of heartburn. Consultation with a doctor is mandatory and with frequent nausea and vomiting.


In order to understand why a patient has heartburn after eating, it is important to conduct a number of diagnostic procedures. The main manipulations are:

  1. FEGDS. The essence of the method is familiar to many patients. It consists in the introduction into the esophagus or stomach of a thin probe with a small chamber at the end. With her help, a doctor can visually assess the condition of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, and if necessary, will be able to draw a biopsy for further study under a microscope. This is especially important if there is a suspicion of cancer.
  2. Fluoroscopy using barium suspension. With its help, the motor functions of the esophagus are evaluated, and neoplasms of various nature (if any) are detected.
  3. Measurement of pH values ​​of gastric and esophageal juice.
  4. Ultrasound diagnostics.
  5. Manometry of the esophagus.

Practically all instrumental methods of diagnostics require careful preparation of the organism, therefore the patient should observe exactly all the recommendations given by the doctor. First of all, they concern compliance with the diet with the exclusion of certain foods and alcohol. If these rules are ignored, the research data will be distorted.

How to get rid of heartburn?

How to deal with heartburn after eating? This is one of the main questions, disturbing patients, whose burning behind the sternum impedes full-fledged vital activity.

Among modern pharmacological agents there is a group of drugs called "antacids", which are successfully used to stop attacks of heartburn. Their principle of action is to neutralize the effect of acid, trapped in the esophagus, or located in the stomach. Antacids come into close contact with hydrochloric and other types of acids, which contributes to the formation of a protective film on the surface of the diseased organ. It protects its tissues and cells from damage.

The most common and effective drugs that have this effect are listed below:

Medicine Forms of release Average price in a pharmacy
Gaviscon Tablets, solution 200-400 rub. for 32 tablets or 150 ml of solution
Maalox 300-500 rub. for 32 tablets or 250 ml of solution
Rennie Chewable Tablets 150-200 rub. for 12 pieces
Gastal 200-250 rubles. for 30 pieces
Rutatsid 130-160 rubles. for 20 pieces.
Almagel Solution 150-180 rub. for 170 ml.

If you need to stop heartburn immediately, but no drugs from the group of antacids in the home medicine cabinet, you can use ordinary activated charcoal or smecta. It is enough to take 3-4 tablets of coal, or dilute 1 sachet Smecta with a small amount of boiled water and drink for 1 time.

They "attract" most of the stomach acid and bile, and then remove them from the body. The epithelium of the digestive tract organs does not suffer during this process.

Than to treat a heartburn?

As already noted, many diseases are accompanied by heartburn. Despite the difference in other symptoms and localization of foci of pathological processes taking place in the digestive tract, the principles of their treatment are very similar. And they consist in restoring the normal acidity of the stomach and normalizing the functioning of the intestine.

To this end, apply 2 groups of medications: antisecretory drugs and prokinetics.

Antisecretory medications

This group of drugs affects the walls of the diseased organ, thereby reducing the amount of acid produced. Side effects from the use of such drugs are virtually excluded, so they can be used for a long time. To prevent pathological processes in the gastrointestinal organs, accompanied by heartburn, you should take these medications in the autumn-spring period.

Antisecretory drugs are presented:

  1. Inhibitors of the proton pump (refer to the drugs of the first line): Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc.
  2. H 2 -receptor receptor blockers (used for ineffectiveness of the first subgroup): Famotidine, Ranitidine, Roxatidine and others.


This group of drugs improve the motor system of the digestive tract. This reduces the risk of throwing the contents of the stomach into the esophagus and damaging its mucous membranes.

The most effective drugs of this group are Itomed, Itopra and Ganaton.

Folk remedies for heartburn: a list of recipes

Good results in the fight against heartburn and gives traditional medicine. In her arsenal there are a lot of recipes that normalize the work of the intestine and stop burning behind the sternum. Here are the most effective of them.

  1. Drinking soda. It should be noted immediately that it should not be eaten regularly - it can cause a violation of the acid-base balance of the stomach. A teaspoon of soda is added to a glass of water, stir well and drink for 1 time.
  2. Fresh milk also cope with heartburn. To remove unpleasant symptoms, it is sufficient to use 1 glass of product. However, it should be borne in mind that after the splitting of milk components, a new burning sensation behind the sternum may occur.
  3. Decoctions of medicinal plants - chamomile, wormwood, mint (including pepper), St. John's wort. You can prepare herbal tea from one or several herbs at once. Brew the agent as an ordinary tea and take with heartburn. They neutralize the negative effect of acid, relieve gravity in the stomach and nausea.

If none of the above folk remedies help, you do not need to wait for the heartburn to pass by itself. It should immediately consult a doctor and identify the cause of the pathological condition.

What can I do at home without medication?

To fix the current situation and prevent the recurrence of heartburn, remember a few simple rules:

  1. Observe the diet. Food should be divided, there should be small portions. The most optimal interval between meals is 3-4 hours. This is especially important in pregnancy.
  2. Supper should be easy. The last meal should be done 3 hours before bedtime.
  3. To prevent repeated outbreaks of heartburn and to relieve the condition in the pathology of the gastrointestinal tract, for 1-2 weeks you must follow a diet with the exception of sharp, fried, salty and fatty dishes. We must give up coffee and alcohol. At a minimum, eat tomatoes, sour berries and fruits.
  4. To sleep it is necessary with the raised head (for example, on 2 pillows).
  5. After eating, do not immediately go to bed - it is necessary to take a walk, at least, half an hour.
  6. It is necessary to prevent constipation. This will help fresh apples, kiwi, peaches, boiled beets and other products of plant origin.
  7. Do not neglect the drinking regime. In total, a day should be consumed at least 1.5 and not more than 2 liters of fluid.

Observing such simple rules, you can forget about heartburn for a long time. Of course, provided that it is not caused by serious pathologies of the digestive tract. If the burning sensation behind the breastbone, bouts of nausea and abdominal pain is constantly or, worse, worse, it is necessary it is compulsory to seek help from a competent gastroenterologist and undergo comprehensive diagnostics.

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