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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between heartburn and acid reflux?

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  • 2


    Joy Anderson

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Joy is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has a special interest in … View Profile

    They are the same thing. Heartburn is acid reflux from the stomach to the oesophagus.

  • 5


    Mr Dean Spilias

    Upper GI Surgeon (Abdominal)

    Dean graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1997 and went on to surgical training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. During his residency he had … View Profile

    Heartburn is a symptom - something you experience - the burning feeling in the chest or neck that can occur when acid flows up from the stomach into the oesophagus. 

    Acid reflux is the physical process of fluid (mostly hydrochloric acid) from the stomach flowing back up into the oesophagus. This can cause various symptoms - it can cause heartburn; regurgitation (the feeling of fluid flowing up into the throat); cough in the mornings, or not being able to clear the throat in the mornings. 

    Hope this helps!
    Dean Spilias

  • Nikki Martin

    Speech Pathologist

    I have over 13 years experience in adult Speech Pathology and specialise in voice and swallowing problems/cancers of the face and throat. I work very … View Profile

    Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux is when the stomach contents go back up the oesophagus (GORD- gastro oesophageal reflux disease) or all the way to the back of the throat (LPR- laryngopharyngeal reflux). People can reflux to the throat silently, ie. without heartburn.

    Nikki Martin 
    Speech Pathologist

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