Heartburn: Heartburn Symptoms

Heartburn Symptoms

Although different things may trigger heartburn, most people experience similar heartburn symptoms. Knowing what heartburn feels like and recognizing the symptoms sooner can lead to earlier treatment.

What does heartburn feel like?

The most common symptom of heartburn is often described as an uncomfortable or painful "burning" sensation in the chest. The pain may worsen when lying down or bending over, and it can last minutes or continue for a few hours.

Common Symptoms of Heartburn

  • A burning feeling in your chest just behind the breastbone.
  • The sensation of pressure or pain just behind your breastbone.
  • Feeling like food is 'sticking' in your chest or throat.
  • Burping and/or bloating.
  • A sour or acid taste in the back of your throat.
  • Discomfort that gets worse after eating, lying down or bending over.

Uncommon Heartburn Symptoms

  • Persistent hiccups.
  • Pain that radiates to your neck and shoulders.
  • Finding it difficult or painful to swallow.
  • Although rare, heartburn can be accompanied by a cold sweat, shortness of breath, light-headedness or dizziness.

Consult a healthcare professional if:

  • Your heartburn often occurs more than once a week.
  • Your heartburn symptoms become more severe over time.
  • Your symptoms continue even with the use of heartburn medications.
  • You have difficulty swallowing.
  • You are using over-the-counter heartburn medications longer than the label recommends.
  • You still get heartburn even after taking prescription or non-prescription medications.
  • Your symptoms are interfering with your lifestyle or daily activities.

Because the symptoms are felt in a similar area, some people can confuse the pain of heartburn with a heart attack. If you're unsure whether you're suffering from heartburn or having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.