Heartburn, also called acid reflux, is an irritation of the esophagus, caused by acid rising from the stomach. Sufferers describe heartburn as a burning discomfort felt in the chest just beneath the breastbone. The burning sensation results when harsh stomach juices encounter the delicate lining of the esophagus.

Additional symptoms include:

  • rising pain, possibly reaching the jaw.
  • burning and indigestion-like pain.
  • foul, acrid taste in the mouth.

Heartburn is often part of a larger complex of symptoms known as dyspepsia or indigestion. The medical term used for chronic heartburn is GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

Reflux occurs when the muscle that connects the esophagus to the upper portion of the stomach malfunctions, allowing partially digested food along with hydrochloric acid and enzymes to flow backward into the esophagus.

Food, typically spicy foods or citrus fruit, gets most of the blame for triggering heartburn, but there can be many other contributing factors:

  • overeating, eating too quickly, or inadequate chewing
  • insufficient water intake
  • food allergies
  • chronic stress, or eating when upset
  • overweight
  • alcohol consumption
  • smoking
  • prescription medications
  • pregnancy
  • enzyme deficiencies (see Enzymes)
  • hiatal hernia (when the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm into the chest)

It is important to note that about 90% of all heartburn is caused by the body producing too little stomach acid. Only 10% of heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid.

Frequent heartburn can severely impact the productivity, daily activities, and quality of life of those who experience it. GERD can result in very serious gastrointestinal problems such as the following:

  • gastritis (inflammation of the protective lining of the stomach)
  • stomach ulcers
  • esophageal cancer
  • Barrett’s esophagus (an abnormal change in the mucosal cells lining the lower portion of the esophagus, often leading to esophageal cancer)

If you suffer from heartburn, you should relieve the symptoms as they occur to avoid permanent damage. Your esophagus and stomach lining will need time to heal. In the long term, you may need to supplement with digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in order to assist the body with the entire digestive process. What you do not want to do is to stop gastric secretions of stomach acid for a long period of time which is what pharmaceuticals and acid-blocking drugs do.

While these acid-blocking drugs may be necessary in some cases, most people can control heartburn naturally while simultaneously improving their overall digestive health. Your Colon Hydrotherapist will help you find the sources of your heartburn and recommend any supplements that can help.

Acid Self-Test

Take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or pure lemon juice on an empty stomach.

  • If there is an immediate strong burning pain, the stomach acid is too high
  • If there is a mild warming sensation, the stomach acid is good
  • If it takes more than one teaspoon to feel a warming sensation, the stomach acid is too low.

The more teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice you need to take to feel a mild warming sensation, the lower your HCL level.