People with heartburn may experience a burning, painful sensation in their lower chest. Daily heartburn may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Sometimes, it warrants a visit to a doctor.

Heartburn is linked to acid reflux. When stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, a person may experience a burning sensation in their lower chest. This is known as heartburn.

Occasionally, people may experience heartburn, especially after a large meal. Some may even experience it daily.

Sometimes, daily heartburn can be a symptom of a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

This article reviews what people with daily heartburn may experience. It also looks at steps they can take to improve their symptoms and potential causes of the condition.

A line of burnt matches to represent daily heartburn -1.Share on Pinterest
MirageC/Getty Images

People with daily heartburn may experience several symptoms. However, the most frequent symptom is a burning feeling or a sense of heat in the throat and chest.

Heartburn may also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • an indigestion-like feeling
  • a bitter, pungent taste in the mouth
  • nausea
  • an acid taste or sensation in the mouth when belching
  • a burning sensation in the middle of the chest near the stomach

It is common for people to develop heartburn occasionally, such as after having a large meal. However, if a person experiences acid reflux and heartburn daily, they should contact a doctor.

Learn more about heartburn.

Heartburn can develop suddenly due to a variety of factors.

Consuming food or drinks that increase the acidity of the stomach can trigger heartburn. These can include alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and spicy or acidic foods.

People with overweight or obesity also have a higher risk of developing heartburn. This is because excess weight can put pressure on the stomach, allowing acid to flow back up into the esophagus.

Other causes of heartburn can include:

  • smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke
  • pregnancy
  • stress and anxiety
  • certain medications

Heartburn and acid reflux may also be a side effect of some medications. These can include birth control pills and drugs for managing high blood pressure.

Learn more about the dangers of heartburn.

Making certain habits and lifestyle changes can help a person manage the symptoms of daily heartburn. These include:

  • eating a healthy diet
  • limiting fat intake
  • avoiding food triggers, such as:
    • spicy foods
    • alcohol
    • caffeine
    • acidic foods
  • avoiding heavy lifting and pulling
  • quitting smoking
  • exercising regularly
  • maintaining or reaching a moderate weight
  • eating smaller meals
  • avoiding eating for at least 2 hours before bed
  • elevating the head with a pillow when lying down

Many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are also available to manage heartburn. They work by reducing or neutralizing acid production in the stomach.

Some medications for heartburn include:

Learn more about managing heartburn.

What if the heartburn does not go away?

If the above measures are not effective for managing daily heartburn, a person should contact a doctor. The doctor can help to address the underlying cause and prevent any complications.

Without treatment, heartburn and acid reflux can lead to complications, including:

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Experiencing heartburn daily can suggest the presence of an underlying condition.

If a person experiences acid reflux more than twice a week, it can be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

In other cases, people may have persistent heartburn due to a hiatal hernia. With this condition, the upper part of the stomach pushes onto the diaphragm. This pressure prevents the diaphragm from keeping acid in the stomach, causing reflux.

Not all heartburn symptoms occur due to acid reflux or GI-related causes. In some cases, the symptoms may be an indication of a heart condition.

If a person experiences daily heartburn, they should contact a doctor to determine the underlying cause. The doctor may recommend imaging tests to assess the esophagus and stomach, such as with an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

After diagnosing the underlying cause, doctors can recommend the most appropriate treatment for reducing and preventing heartburn.

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can cause a painful burning sensation in the lower chest and throat.

Acid reflux and heartburn can be common, and most people experience them occasionally. However, if they occur daily, it may suggest an underlying condition.

Certain lifestyle approaches can help prevent and reduce heartburn. These include avoiding eating before bedtime, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a moderate weight. OTC and prescription medications are also available for treating and preventing heartburn.

If a person experiences daily heartburn, they should speak with a doctor to determine the underlying cause. Without treatment, acid reflux and heartburn have the potential to cause gastrointestinal complications over time.