Heartburn is a common occurrence today, said to affect more than 60 million Americans at least once a month. In 2017, Americans purchased 385 million units of over-the-counter heartburn products (antacids). Heartburn occurs when there is a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone caused by acid regurgitation into the esophagus. This pain can worsen when eating, bending over or lying down.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux (a common condition) and GERD (the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux).
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be caused by being overweight or obese, smoking, alcohol, conditions like a hiatal hernia, and medications that weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that separates the esophagus from the stomach, such as antihistamines, acetaminophen and NSAIDs, and anti-depressants.