Persistent Heartburn Caused by Acid Reflux Disease

The more you understand about acid reflux disease, the better you may be able to manage it.


Acid reflux is what happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. This acid can irritate the delicate lining of the esophagus, causing heartburn, a burning pain in the center of the chest. “Acid reflux disease” is frequently recurring acid reflux.

Stomach Acid

Lifestyle factors to consider

There are lifestyle factors that can make heartburn worse. Some of these include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Eating too much food at one time
  • Wearing tight clothing that puts pressure on your stomach

Trigger foods to avoid

Certain foods can trigger heartburn symptoms associated with acid reflux. Foods to avoid include:

  • Spicy, fried, or fatty foods
  • Tomato-based foods such as pizza, pasta sauce, and salsa
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Onions and garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Mint flavorings
  • Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks
  • Coffee and tea (caffeinated or decaffeinated)
  • Soda and other carbonated drinks

Acid Backup—A faulty valve

The main cause of acid reflux disease is a problem with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle. This muscle, which is the “valve” between the stomach and the esophagus, normally closes tightly after food has passed through to the stomach.

The LES does not stay closed in people with acid reflux disease. When this happens, acid and stomach contents may back up (reflux) into the esophagus. This acid backup can sometimes cause the painful, burning sensation known as heartburn or other symptoms. Certain food and lifestyle factors can trigger or worsen heartburn.


For many, NEXIUM helps to relieve persistent heartburn associated with acid reflux disease. Plus, it’s proven to heal erosions in the esophagus caused by acid reflux disease.

How NEXIUM Works

Turns Off Acid Pumps

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are effective treatments for acid reflux disease. They work by turning off some of the "acid pumps" in the stomach's acid-producing cells, reducing the amount of acid in the stomach.

For many people, prescription NEXIUM can provide 24-hour relief from persistent heartburn pain caused by acid reflux disease.

Prescription NEXIUM can also heal possible damage to the esophagus that may be caused over time by acid reflux disease. Your results may vary. You should know NEXIUM 40 mg delayed-release capsules are only available with a prescription.


Over time, untreated acid reflux disease can cause damage in the lining of the esophagus. NEXIUM can heal most erosions in the esophagus in about 4 to 8 weeks. Your results with NEXIUM may vary.

Healing Damage

Erosive Esophagitis

Your stomach is filled with acid that helps digest the food you eat. Although stomach acid is harsh, your stomach is built to handle this acid. However, the lining of your esophagus is not.

Acid reflux disease causes acid to back up into the esophagus. Over time, this causes tissue damage in the lining of the esophagus, resulting in a condition called erosive esophagitis (EE).

EE is a potentially serious condition. However, NEXIUM can heal most erosions in the esophagus in about 4 to 8 weeks. Your results with NEXIUM may vary.


If you think you may have acid reflux disease, check out this list and then talk to your doctor.

Symptoms Checklist

Signs of Acid Reflux Disease

If you have acid reflux disease, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Heartburn (a rising, burning feeling in the chest)
  • Sour or bitter taste
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain not related to the hearta

aNote: If you have chest pain, call your doctor immediately. It may be a sign of a life-threatening condition.


If you have acid reflux disease, heartburn and other symptoms can strike at any time of day or night. Fortunately, there are tips to help you throughout your day and night.


All Day All Night

HEARTBURN BY DAYMake Better Choices


Live a little smarter

DO make healthier choices. If you smoke or are obese, it may be time to make some changes. Both of these can contribute to acid reflux disease.

DON’T stress out too much. A study found significant relationships between the presence of severe, sustained life stress and increased severity of heartburn symptoms.

DO avoid trigger foods. Certain foods are known to trigger acid reflux symptoms. These include high-fat foods, spicy foods, acidic fruits, mint, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and soda.



Rest a little easier

DO raise the head of the bed. When you lie down, acid can move up into your esophagus more easily. To help avoid this, raise the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches. One way to do this is to place a foam wedge under your mattress.

DON’T pile on the pillows. Using more pillows under your head doesn't help prevent reflux.

DO allow time for digestion before bed. Most of the food in your stomach is digested within 3 hours. If you stop eating 3 hours before bed, your food should not back up into your esophagus when you lie down.

Remember, if you have any questions about your treatment with NEXIUM, talk with your doctor.