Heartburn: Heartburn Terms

Acid Indigestion
The abdominal discomfort or "sour stomach" often experienced after eating certain "trigger" foods

Acid Reflux
The action by which acid from the stomach "refluxes" or backs up into the esophagus, causing the burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn

Alginate Antacid
Antacids such as Gaviscon® that contain both calcium carbonate to neutralize acid and alginic acid to form a barrier that prevents stomach acid from "refluxing" into the esophagus

An ingredient in some antacids that, because it may deplete the body of phosphorus and calcium, is less commonly used today

The most commonly used group of heartburn medication, antacids come in chewable tablets or in liquid form, and begin neutralizing stomach acid on contact

Breakthrough Heartburn
Heartburn that occasionally "breaks through" the control of long-lasting heartburn medication such as the proton pump inhibitors Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, Aciphex® or Zegerid®

Calcium Carbonate
A strong and fast-acting antacid that has been used since the first century, and that is still used today in products like TUMS®

The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. When stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, heartburn may occur.

Frequent Heartburn
Heartburn that occurs two or more times a week

Short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, GERD is regular acid reflux that occurs more than twice a week

H2 Blocker
Also called H2RAs, this group of drugs includes the product ZantacĀ® and provides extended heartburn relief by reducing stomach acid for up to 8 hours, but may take several hours before the onset of relief

A burning sensation in the chest caused by the "reflux" of acid from the stomach into the esophagus

Heartburn Foods
Foods that are common "triggers" of heartburn, including tomatoes and tomato products, citrus fruits and products, garlic, onions, chocolate, coffee, alcohol and fried or fatty foods

Hiatal Hernia
A condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest, through an opening in the diaphragm

Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)
The circular band of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that, if it does not close tightly enough, may allow stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus

Magnesium Hydroxide
An ingredient in some antacids that is often combined with aluminum because it is known to cause diarrhea

Night-time Heartburn
Heartburn that follows the evening meal and during early hours of sleep that may be aggravated by lying flat

Occasional Heartburn
Heartburn that occurs once a week or less

Peptic Ulcer
An erosion in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine, which is called the "duodenum"

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)
A group of drugs that helps weaken the acid in the stomach for managing heartburn over a 24-hour period, but may take several days before onset of complete symptom relief. Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, Aciphex® and Zegerid® are the most common PPIs

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