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What happens inside my body when I get heartburn?

ANSWER

You get heartburn when an opening between your stomach and your esophagus doesn't work the way it should. The esophagus is a tube that connects your stomach and your throat. The faulty opening lets acid in your stomach get into the esophagus. You may hear your doctor call this "acid reflux."

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Heartburn," "Antacids and Acid Reducers: OTC Relief for Heartburn and Acid Reflux."

Annals of Thoracic Medicine : "Pulmonary manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Asthma and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease."

Cleveland Clinic: "GERD and Asthma."

Gastroenterology & Hepatology : "Is There a Relationship Between GERD and Asthma?"

Mayo Clinic: "Is there a connection between asthma and acid reflux?"

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on June 25, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Heartburn," "Antacids and Acid Reducers: OTC Relief for Heartburn and Acid Reflux."

Annals of Thoracic Medicine : "Pulmonary manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Asthma and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease."

Cleveland Clinic: "GERD and Asthma."

Gastroenterology & Hepatology : "Is There a Relationship Between GERD and Asthma?"

Mayo Clinic: "Is there a connection between asthma and acid reflux?"

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on June 25, 2019

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How does acid reflux make your asthma symptoms worse?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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