How to Get Relief From Persistent Heartburn

Worried black woman holding her chest in pain from persistent heartburn at home.

Most individuals have experienced heartburn at one point or another. It’s not at all unusual! Each year, in fact, about 60 million Americans experience heartburn according to one study. For most people, this heartburn will represent little more than an annoyance (maybe a very uncomfortable annoyance, depending on your diet).

But there are some individuals for whom heartburn is a much bigger deal. These unlucky people will usually experience heartburn symptoms on a regular basis, if not chronically. Because heartburn is usually a pretty routine (and self-treatable) healthcare concern, it’s tempting to attempt to ignore chronic or persistent heartburn.

That can be a very bad idea. Much more serious medical issues can happen if persistent heartburn is left untreated. You’ll want to talk to your doctor to get relief from chronic heartburn.

What causes persistent heartburn?

There’s acid in your stomach. But that’s usually a good thing. This acid is digestive in nature and helps break down food you eat. Typically, this acid will never bother you. That’s thanks to a useful little “valve” in your esophagus (called the lower esophageal sphincter). This valve lets food go down your esophagus but blocks anything from coming back up. (Well, under normal conditions).

Heartburn occurs when (for a number of reasons) a little bit of this stomach acid finds its way up. This is also the reason why heartburn is known as acid reflux. For most people, heartburn happens after eating especially greasy, spicy, or heavy food. Your heartburn will normally go away in a short while if it’s a dietary scenario.

But what if you’re left wondering, when will my heartburn recede? Well, when that heartburn doesn’t recede, for instance, if you experience heartburn at least twice a week (every week), you might have persistent or chronic heartburn. When that’s the case it’s probably worth scheduling an appointment with your doctor.

Heartburn can cause, and be caused by other health problems

How much of a threat is persistent heartburn? Well, it’s not necessarily an easy question to answer. Heartburn tends to be more of a symptom than a cause. Both the symptoms and the base causes of heartburn can result in serious health complications.

It’s most likely time to go in to see an ENT if you’re dealing with chronic heartburn. Here are a few of the most prevalent health concerns associated with chronic heartburn:

  • Esophagitis: This is an affliction in which your esophagus becomes intensely swollen. Problems with swallowing and intense pain can be the outcome of this extreme swelling.
  • Issues with your mouth: You can get lesions and sores in your mouth, not to mention bad breath, from chronic heartburn.
  • Esophageal ulcers: Though fairly common, esophageal ulcers can become quite serious. A hole or sore can form over time from recurring exposure to stomach acid. Ulcers like this can result in significant complications, including scarring and a narrowing of the esophagus (making swallowing more dangerous). Ulcers can also bleed. Esophageal ulcers require prompt treatment, so make sure to speak with us if you believe you might have them (or are having frequent heartburn).
  • Barrett’s Esophagus: When consistently exposed to stomach acid (as occurs with chronic heartburn), the lining of the lower esophagus becomes damaged. After a while, this results in a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. This condition increases your danger of developing esophageal cancer later in life, so close monitoring may be necessary.

The main cause of heartburn is a condition known as GERD

It’s difficult to talk about chronic reflux without also dealing with a condition called GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is normally the cause of the majority of instances of persistent heartburn and reflux.

When the valve that keeps stomach acid from going up past the esophagus starts to fail or entirely fails, GERD is the consequence. This situation will cause stomach acid and undigested food to get up into places it shouldn’t be. How do I know if I have GERD? Well, symptoms of GERD include but are not limited to:

  • Regurgitation of food (especially when you lay down).
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Chronic heartburn.

There are normally a number of ways that GERD is treated. Excess stomach acid production can sometimes be reduced by medication. For more serious cases, surgery can help mend or reinforce the failing valve (sometimes all it takes is a little magnetic clamp).

Significant complications can result from untreated chronic reflux and surgery can help bring those symptoms under control. That’s why it’s essential to contact us if you think you have GERD.

Your symptoms can be controlled – we can help

Having heartburn every so often is perfectly normal (especially if your diet is particularly… demanding). But you shouldn’t disregard the symptoms of chronic heartburn. Doing so can result in more significant issues down the road. When you talk to your doctor, you’ll have the chance to talk about your heartburn and the best way to get relief from your symptoms.

It’s possible to get peace from heartburn with tried and tested management strategies. It all starts by getting an appointment with your ENT. Find a provider today!


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.