If you’ve had heartburn, you know that burning feeling in your lower chest. But despite what it’s called and where it hurts, the pain has nothing to do with your heart. Heartburn happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus -- the pipe that carries food from your mouth to your stomach -- doesn’t close properly. Stomach acid creeps back up that pipe, causing irritation.
It’s a common problem: About 40% of adults in the United States have heartburn at least once a month.
Along with discomfort, you may also have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth and throat. Symptoms can last from a few minutes to a few hours.