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Tired of eating & drinking with limitations?

Are you concerned you may have heartburn? The doctors at First Physicians in Odessa, Texas deliver top-notch medical care for numerous conditions, including heartburn. First Physicians has 5 convenient locations: Wendover Family Medicine, Westview Medical Clinic, East University Family Medicine, Women’s Health, and Occupational Medical Testing.

Comprehensive medical care is never too far away. If you’re experiencing any symptoms you think may be heartburn, call First Physicians to make an appointment. They’ll provide you with expert care to help relieve your symptoms and ease your mind.


Q: What is heartburn?

A: You may have heartburn if you’re experiencing a burning sensation in your chest. This burning feeling is felt in the area behind your sternum, also known as the breastbone. Sometimes, heartburn is accompanied by an unpleasant and bitter taste in the back of your throat. Heartburn is usually felt following a large meal, when bending over, or while lying down. The burning sensation may be brief or last for several hours.

Q: What causes heartburn?

A: When you eat, food travels from your mouth down to your stomach through a tube known as the esophagus. The area or opening between the esophagus and the stomach is called the lower esophageal sphincter. If the sphincter is not working properly and does not close all the way after the food passes through to the stomach, acid can back up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux, or heartburn. This stomach acid irritates the esophagus, causing the heartburn sensation in the chest.

Heartburn can be caused by several things. Anything that does not allow the esophageal sphincter to close properly may cause acid reflux. Here is a list of potential causes:

  • Overeating
  • Smoking
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Eating fatty foods
  • Eating acidic foods such as citrus fruits or tomatoes
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and some prescription medications
  • Onions and garlic
  • Caffeine
  • Lying down or bending over too soon after a meal

Q: How will my doctor at First Physicians treat my heartburn?

A: If you’re experiencing heartburn symptoms more than twice per week, call us for an appointment. Our doctors will discuss any lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your heartburn with you. You’ll be examined and possibly sent for lab work. Ongoing heartburn can permanently damage the esophagus, increasing your risk of esophageal cancer as well. It may also be a symptom of something else that needs attention. If your heartburn occurs often or interferes with your quality of life, it is called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. GERD requires daily medication most of the time. Sometimes, GERD is caused by the H. pylori bacteria, which requires treatment with antibiotics. GERD can also signal structural problems in the esophagus that may require surgery to correct, depending on the cause.