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We’ve all seen television ads pushing remedies to relieve heartburn, or acid indigestion, the searing pain up the middle of the chest that sometimes follows a meal or crops up when we’re under stress. Heartburn symptoms run the gamut from annoying to debilitating. At their worst, they can even be mistaken for a heart attack. The cause of heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD, a condition in which acidified stomach contents flow back from the stomach into the food pipe esophagus. Heartburn is usually felt in the chest just below the breastbone sternum but can extend upward to the neck. It may be accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth or a stinging sensation in the throat. An irritated esophagus may also produce pain behind the sternum that feels as if food is stuck there. GERD can cause problems you might not associate with heartburn, such as laryngitis, hoarseness, wheezing, or a chronic cough.
Acid reflux happens when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus. If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious complications. Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, which can radiate up toward your neck.