Medical Conditions That May Cause or Worsen Heartburn

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents reflux back up into the esophagus. The primary symptom is heartburn.

GERD can occur at any age, including in infants and children. It affects approximately 5% to 7% of the world's population. Heartburn and/or acid reflux occurring on a weekly basis has been found in approximately 20% of individuals worldwide.

  • GERD Fast FactsDid you know that heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD? Did you know that millions of Americans suffer from GERD? What can trigger GERD symptoms? Learn the facts about GERD.
  • What You Need to Know About GERDWhether you suspect you have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or you are newly diagnosed, you will want to know the symptoms, the causes, and the treatment of GERD
  • Living With Acid Reflux DiseaseIf you have been diagnosed with acid reflux disease (GERD), you'll want to learn how to control the symptoms. The acid reflux disease will still be there, but you can aleviaalleviaten many cases, prevent the symptoms.

Hiatal Hernia

Another cause of acid reflux and heartburn is a hiatal hernia. When the opening (hiatus) in the diaphragm is too large, part of the stomach can slip up into the chest cavity. Gastric acid can backflow from the stomach into the esophagus, causing the heartburn. Some people suffer from Gastroesophageal reflux disease, and heartburn, because they have a hiatal hernia.

What You Need to Know About Hiatal HerniasWhether you suspect you have a hiatal hernia or you are newly diagnosed, you will want to know the symptoms, the causes, and the treatment of hiatal hernias.

How To Live With a Hiatal HerniaA hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, and up into the chest. This opening is called the esophageal hiatus or diaphragmatic hiatus. If you've been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, you'll need to know how to live with it.

Hiatal Hernia Diet TipsAbout 50% of all people with hiatal hernias do not have any symptoms. For the other approximate 50% of individuals with hiatal hernias who do have symptoms, heartburn is the most common symptom. Knowing how to control the heartburn through diet is important.

Peptic Ulcers

A peptic ulcer is an area of the stomach or duodenal (the first part of the small intestine) lining that becomes eroded by the stomach acid. Known individually as stomach and duodenal ulcers, collectively they are known as peptic ulcers.

  • What You Need to Know About Peptic UlcersWhether you suspect you have a peptic ulcer or you are newly diagnosed, you will want to know the symptoms, the causes, and the treatment of peptic ulcers.
  • The Ulcer-Safe Diet - Peptic Ulcer DietSome people who have peptic ulcers can eat whatever they want with no problems. For many others, however, eating certain foods can cause irritation, excessive acid production, and heartburn. For them, they need to know what foods are safe, and what foods to avoid. They need to know how to prepare foods to avoid ingredients that will cause a flare-up of their symptoms. If you are an ulcer patient and need to make some dietary changes, the following resources will get you started.
  • Living With Peptic UlcersYou've been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer. Your doctor will have provided you with a treatment plan which will include antibiotics or lifestyle modifications, or both. In the majority of cases, a peptic ulcer will heal in time with proper treatment.


Studies have shown that approximately 75% of asthma patients also suffer from GERD. It has also been found that asthmatics are twice as likely to have GERD as non-asthmatics. Further research has also shown that those asthmatics who have a severe chronic form of asthma that is resistant to treatment are the most likely to also have GERD.

  • GERD and AsthmaLearn how asthma affects GERD, and what the effects of GERD are on asthma, and what you should do if you have GERD and asthma.


Gastroparesis is a disorder affecting people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. This happens when nerves to the stomach are damaged or stop working. When this happens, the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work properly, which causes the movement of food to be slowed or stopped entirely. Approximately 20 percent of people with type 1 diabetes develop gastroparesis. While it also occurs in people with type 2 diabetes, it occurs less often.

  • GastroparesisWhat gastroparesis is, what the symptoms are, and how it is treated.