Pyrosis

Pyrosis
December 29, 2012 12:29 AM

Pyrosis is a specific kind of pain, which manifests itself as a burning sensation or pressure under the lower section of the breastbone (sternum). Pyrosis is caused by irritation of esophagus by acid stomach contents.

It is quite natural for stomach contents to flow back to esophagus sometimes (mainly after eating food containing lots of fat or after drinking too much alcohol or black coffee). However when you feel burning sensation after every meal or very often you should visit your doctor for proper examination (gastroendoscopy). 

Pyrosis is an accompanying symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) when acid gastric content flows back to esophagus. When gastric contents flow through esophagus and pharynx up to the mouth, it is called regurgitation. This may be dangerous at night when there is a risk of gastric acid penetration to air passage ways and their subsequent irritation.

GERD or regurgitation may also be a cause of extreme tooth decay (gastric acid deteriorates tooth enamel), night coughing, asthma or hoarseness.

Pyrosis can be a very painful and annoying condition. It commonly occurs after eating some fried or fatty foods or drinking black coffee or alcohol. Smoking also increases the risk of pyrosis. Obesity and pregnancy also increase the risk of pyrosis. Some people suffer from GERD and pyrosis at night, when lying on bed.

To avoid pyrosis one should not eat food causing it, such as fatty or fried food or drink too much coffee or alcohol. If this does not help your doctor may prescribe some medicine to prevent pyrosis, such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors (e.g. medication lowering stomach acid). If you suffer from pyrosis frequently ask your doctor for gastroendoscopic examination. Untreated frequent pyroses may lead to formation of so called Barrett's esophagus, which involves mucosa changes and makes your esophagus more susceptible to cancer.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Published: December 29, 2012 12:29 AM
Next scheduled update: December 29, 2014 12:29 AM
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