Heartburn Specialist

Coleman Primary Care -  - Primary Care

Coleman Primary Care

Primary Care Practice & Internal Medicine located in Sterling, VA

Frequent or severe heartburn shouldn’t be ignored since it could be a warning sign of a more serious underlying health problem. At Coleman Primary Care in Sterling, Virginia, internal medicine physician Linda Coleman, MD, and the highly qualified team have extensive experience treating heartburn to improve your overall health and wellness. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today if you’re suffering from frequent heartburn.

Heartburn Q & A

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is the term for a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. 

Occasional heartburn is common and isn’t a cause for concern. However, more frequent heartburn or heartburn that gets in the way of your daily life might be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

Symptoms of heartburn include:

  • Burning pain in your chest that usually worsens after eating
  • Pain that’s exacerbated by lying down or bending over
  • Bitter or acidic taste in your mouth

If you have severe chest pain or pressure, especially when combined with other signs and symptoms such as difficulty breathing or pain in your arm, and if you feel you might be having a heart attack, you should visit your local emergency room as soon as possible.

What causes heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus — the tube that transports food from your mouth to your stomach.

The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle band around the bottom of your esophagus that relaxes when you swallow to allow your liquids and foods to flow down into your stomach. Then the lower esophageal sphincter tightens again. 

If this muscle relaxes or weakens abnormally, your stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus. This is called acid reflux and can lead to heartburn.

For some people, heartburn can be triggered by certain foods or drinks, such as: 

  • Spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Citrus products
  • Tomato products like ketchup
  • Fried foods
  • Coffee or other caffeinated beverages, alcohol, or carbonated beverages
  • Large meals, especially when consumed too quickly 

You also have an increased risk of developing heartburn if you’re overweight or pregnant. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) usually refers to frequent heartburn that interferes with your daily routine. Over time, GERD can cause serious damage to your esophagus or lead to precancerous changes in your esophagus, known as Barrett's esophagus.

How is heartburn treated?

To assess your health and determine if you have heartburn, your provider at Coleman Primary Care might conduct various diagnostic tests, such as blood work, an X-ray, and esophageal motility testing.

Dr. Coleman may recommend a number of treatments for your heartburn, such as:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Proton pump inhibitors, antacids, or H2-receptor antagonists to neutralize stomach acid
  • Lifestyle changes such as exercise, stress management, and consuming a nutrient-dense healthy diet
  • Getting your weight in a healthy range with weight management
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Vitamin B12 injections for weight loss, detoxification, and other wellness benefits

You should also avoid the foods that trigger your heartburn. 

For heartburn relief and exceptional medical care, call Coleman Primary Care or schedule an appointment online today.