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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Did I have heartburn?

    Related Topic
    Sometimes when I eat quickly I experience a sharp, burning sensation in the chest area. It usually only lasts a few moments, but during that time I find it difficult to continue swallowing. Is this heartburn?
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    Dr Kenneth Wong

    Bariatric (Obesity) Surgeon, General Surgeon, Laparoscopic Surgeon

    Dr Ken Wong is a very experienced specialist surgeon focussing on keyhole surgery techniques for gallstones, bowel cancer, hernia and weight loss surgery. He graduated … View Profile

    Yes, you have described heartburn.

    The term heartburn refers to a set of symptoms such as acid burning in the chest area, upper abdomen and around the ribs. The burning sensation could reach the throat. This could be a symptom of gastro-esophageal disease.

    The main problem with heart burn is that continued reflux predisposes to changes in the lining of  the lower part of the gullet. These changes known as Barrett's oesophagitis may predispose you to cancer.

    If you have new onset heartburn, worsening heartburn or changes to your pre-existing heartburn, consider seeing a surgeon to organise a panendoscopy. This is a procedure wherein a camera is placed through the mouth to examine the oesophagus and stomach. We are looking for Barrett's esophagitis, ulcers, hiatus hernia and H.pylori infection. Treatment of these problems could improve your heartburn.

    Ken Wong

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