Heartburn, that burning feeling in your throat or chest and bitter taste in your mouth, is caused when the acid in your stomach backs up into the esophagus and causes irritation. Certain foods, alcoholic beverages, and some medications can cause heartburn, and it's not uncommon to have it while pregnant.

Besides being annoying and uncomfortable, heartburn can lead to more serious problems later on. If it persists, it can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It's important to treat heartburn before it gets to that point. Your health care professional may recommend changing your diet and taking over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms.

Here's a look at heartburn by the numbers:

15 million: Number of American adults who suffer from heartburn every day.

60 million: Number of American adults who suffer from heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

75: Percentage of heartburn sufferers who say nighttime heartburn awakens them or prevents them from sleeping.

2 to 3: Number of hours you should wait after a meal before going to bed in order to prevent nighttime heartburn, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

2: Number of incidences of heartburn per week after which you should seek medical help.

94: Percentage of heartburn sufferers who can link their symptoms to specific foods.

25 to 50: Percentage of pregnant women who experience heartburn or related symptoms.

3: Trimester number in which heartburn is most common, due to increased pressure on the intestines and stomach from the growing uterus, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

20: Percentage of the U.S. population that has reflux symptoms at least weekly.

18.3 million: Number of ambulatory care visits made each year for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

89: Percentage of individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease who have symptoms at night.




U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health

American College of Gastroenterology
Acid Reflux

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Heartburn Can Be More Serious than It Sounds

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States

10 Heartburn Facts You Should Know

American Pregnancy Association
Pregnancy and Heartburn

The Effect of Dexlansoprazole MR on Nocturnal Heartburn and GERD-Related Sleep Disturbances in Patients With Symptomatic GERD. Esophagus. PDF.

Nighttime Heartburn Is an Under-Appreciated Clinical Problem That Impacts Sleep and Daytime Function: The Results of a Gallup Survey Conducted on Behalf of the American Gastroenterological Association. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Vol. 98, No.7, 2003.