America Asks: Most Popular Questions About Heartburn

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 29, 2020

An estimated 20% of Americans suffer heartburn and acid reflux at least once a week. In fact, frequent heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). With GERD, stomach acid flows up into the esophagus, causing discomfort, a bitter taste, and sometimes difficulty swallowing.

Heartburn symptoms can interfere with meals, sleeping, and enjoyment of life. Indeed, if you have regular heartburn, you know how it can begin to rule your life.

To help Americans with heartburn, WebMD took our video crew to the streets. We discovered people's top concerns about heartburn and took their questions to Sandra Fryhofer, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at Emory University, and Michael W. Smith, MD, WebMD's chief medical editor. Do you have some of the same questions? Click on the heartburn questions below to see our doctors' answers.

Ulcers and HeartburnAre ulcers and heartburn related? Find out what Fryhofer has to say about this risky connection.

Heartburn at NightLori of Cleveland, Ohio wants to know why heartburn happens at night. The doctor weighs in.

Indigestion versus Heartburn"What's the difference between indigestion and heartburn?" asks Richard of Cary, N.C. Fryhofer lists the important symptoms to know.

America AsksDarren from Houston, Texas, wonders if putting on a few extra pounds could have worsened his heartburn. Fryhofer offers tips on weight and heartburn.

Nexium - Video ThumbnailWhat's the difference between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD? Suzi from Pittsburgh, Pa., wants to know. Find out what the doctor told her.

America AsksMarcus from Atlanta, Ga., has a chronic cough and frequent heartburn. Could his cough be related to heartburn? See what Fryhofer advises.

America AsksCan stress really trigger heartburn or is that just a myth? James from Lynchburg, Va., asks Fryhofer. See her surprising answer.

America AsksCynthia from Greensboro, Ala., wants to know why GERD can be so dangerous. The doctor gives her the facts.

Barrett's EsophagusLisa of Pelham, Ala., was recently diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus. She wants to know what it is and why should she be concerned?

NexiumJennifer from Knoxville, Tenn., recently had a baby and noticed that her heartburn got worse. What's the connection between pregnancy weight and heartburn? Smith explains.

America AsksDoes sleeping on your left side ease heartburn? Dee in Atlanta wants to know if this is true or just another medical myth.

NexiumEver worry that you may be having a heart attack when it's really heartburn? So does Melissa. Here are some key differences.

NexiumJohn gets a weird sensitivity in his teeth when he gets heartburn. His teeth actually hurt. He asks: Is this a normal heartburn symptom?

NexiumEver get heartburn even if you hadn't eaten anything? So does Rodney from Charleston, S.C. See what Smith tells Rodney about some surprising heartburn triggers.

Show Sources


National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: “Digestive Diseases Statistics.”

Sandra Fryhofer, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, Emory University Medical School.

Michael W. Smith, MD, chief medical editor, WebMD.

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