What is Pyrosis?

Pyrosis, also known as heartburn, is a medical condition characterized by a painful burning sensation in the chest and throat. It is caused by acid reflux, a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. People often experience pyrosis after eating certain foods or drinking certain beverages. It is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Common Causes of Pyrosis

  • Eating certain foods, such as spicy, fatty, or fried foods
  • Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, coffee, and carbonated drinks
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating large meals
  • Lying down soon after eating

Types of Pyrosis Treatments

Treating pyrosis typically involves lifestyle changes and medications. Common treatments include:

  • Antacids: Antacids can help neutralize stomach acid. They are available over-the-counter (OTC) and come in liquid, dissolvable tablet, or chewable tablet forms.
  • H2 blockers: H2 blockers, also known as H2 receptor antagonists, help block the production of stomach acid. They are available OTC and as prescription medications.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs reduce the production of stomach acid, which can help relieve pyrosis. They are available by prescription and OTC.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making certain lifestyle changes can also help improve pyrosis, such as avoiding certain trigger foods, managing stress levels, quitting smoking, and avoiding lying down after eating.

When to See a Doctor

Mild pyrosis can often be managed with lifestyle changes and OTC medications. It is best to see a doctor if:

  • Pyrosis occurs twice or more per week
  • The intensity or duration of pyrosis symptoms increases
  • Pyrosis does not improve after two weeks of diet and lifestyle changes
  • Pyrosis is accompanied by vomiting, difficulty swallowing, or black stools

Seeing a doctor is also important if pyrosis is accompanied by a fever, persistent or severe chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty breathing.