Acid Reflux vs Heartburn: Difference and Comparison

The terms acid reflux and heartburn are interrelated. But these two terms, though related, are quite different from each other.

Key Takeaways

  1. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, irritating its lining.
  2. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest or throat resulting from acid reflux.
  3. Acid reflux is the underlying condition, while heartburn is a symptom of that condition.

Acid Reflux vs Heartburn  

Acid reflux is a medical condition in which the stomach acid and partially digested food flow back from the stomach into the esophagus. It can be caused by various factors, etc. Heartburn is a burning sensation that occurs in the chest or throat after eating or lying down.

Acid Reflux vs Heartburn

Acid reflux refers to a chronic disease that occurs when bile or stomach acid flows into the food pipe, irritating the lining. 

The burning sensation lasts for a few minutes to a few hours. Heartburn can be treated at home with the help of over-the-counter medications.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAcid RefluxHeartburn
DefinitionAcid reflux is a chronic disease where the acid from the stomach flows up into the esophagus, into the gullet, causing a burning sensation in the middle of the chest.
             
             
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. It is a sensation of burning behind the breastbone or the center of the chest. 
SymptomsThe symptoms of acid reflux are heartburn. Other symptoms of heartburn are bloating, sore throat, nausea, abdominal pain, acidic or warm taste at the back throat, and so on.
             
The symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation behind the breastbone or the middle of the chest. The burning sensation makes an uncomfortable burning sensation around the heart.
CausesCommon causes of acid reflux are obesity, smoking, eating fried and fatty foods, eating a large amount of food, drinking alcohol, diabetes, pregnancy, and hiatal hernia.
           
Common causes of heartburn are smoking, drinking alcohol, diabetes, obesity, eating a large amount of food, eating fried and fatty food. 
Aggravating foodsFatty and fried foods, onions and garlic, mint, spicy foods, chocolate, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can cause acid reflux.
                        
Spicy foods, chocolate, fatty, and fried foods, mint, onions, and garlic can cause heartburn.
TreatmentAcid reflux is treated by modifying the diet, losing weight, taking medicines like antidiarrhoeal, a proton-pump inhibitor, and antacid.
           
To prevent heartburn, lying down after eating must be avoided for at least two hours. Avoiding chocolates, fatty and fried foods is important to prevent heartburn.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a chronic disease where bile or stomach acid flows up into the esophagus into the gullet, causing a burning sensation in the middle of the chest. The symptoms of acid reflux are heartburn.

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If the LES (Lower esophageal sphincter) opens too or doesn’t close properly, acid produced in the stomach flows up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux.

Common causes of acid reflux are obesity, smoking, eating fried and fatty foods, eating a large amount of food, drinking alcohol, diabetes, pregnancy, and hiatal hernia.

Acid reflux is treated by modifying the diet, losing weight, and taking medicines like antidiarrhoeal, a proton-pump inhibitor, and antacids. It’s better to take antacids that contain both aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide.

acid

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

The symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation behind the breastbone or the middle of the chest.

Heartburn is treatable at home with the help of over-the-counter medications.

Having severe heartburn regularly can be an indicator of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is a chronic acid reflux condition.

heartburn

Main Differences Between Acid Reflux and Heartburn

  1. Fatty and fried foods, onions and garlic, mint, spicy foods, chocolate, and acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can cause acid reflux.
  2. Acid reflux is treated by modifying the diet, losing weight, and taking medicines like antidiarrhoeal, a proton-pump inhibitor, and antacid.
Difference Between Acid Reflux and Heartburn
References
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2036.2003.01423.x
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=4fzDuNJoICcC&oi=fnd&pg=PT4&dq=heartburn&ots=woSDkgizbE&sig=WsbNUp5NCgKEiEhmEDjARmH8Dig&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=heartburn&f=false

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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11 thoughts on “Acid Reflux vs Heartburn: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The detailed symptoms and differences between acid reflux and heartburn are beneficial for those experiencing digestive issues. It’s a well-researched article.

    Reply
  2. The article has truly simplified the complex concepts of acid reflux and heartburn. An impressive analysis of causes, symptoms, and treatments.

    Reply
  3. A clear and concise explanation of acid reflux and heartburn. The article is highly enlightening for readers seeking accurate information on the topic.

    Reply
  4. Research-based information provided in this article is highly commendable. It’s crucial to know the underlying condition and symptoms for proper treatment.

    Reply
  5. This is an excellent article on differentiating acid reflux from heartburn by understanding their definitions, differences, and symptoms.

    Reply
    • Yes, it’s very informative. It’s important for readers to recognize the difference between the two and understand their respective treatments.

      Reply
  6. The article serves as a valuable resource in understanding the medical conditions of acid reflux and heartburn. It’s an educational piece with significant insights.

    Reply
  7. The article provides comprehensive knowledge about acid reflux and heartburn. It’s essential to identify and differentiate between the two to manage the symptoms effectively.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! Understanding the causes and aggravating foods allows us to take preventive measures by modifying our diet to combat acid reflux and heartburn effectively.

      Reply
    • It’s evident that the article is based on scientific evidence and research. The references provided strengthen the credibility of the content.

      Reply

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