Heartburn can occur when the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly after eating, allowing stomach acids to leak back, or reflux, into the oesophagus.

The presence of digestive juices in the oesophagus cause burning sensations in the chest or throat called heartburn, or acid indigestion. Heartburn which occurs more than twice per week can be considered as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Gastroesophageal Reflux (Heartburn) in MS

In multiple sclerosis, this may be brought about by demyelisation, or lesion, of the medulla oblongata in the Vagus Nerve, or 10th Cranial Nerve.

Heartburn is a depressing pain

Other causes of reflux may be a hiatus hernia where the top of the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm. I have a hiatus hernia which, can be corrected with surgery but, in my case is not considered serious enough to warrant operating.

Reflux may be treated with antacids, calcium carbonate, foaming agents which coat the oesophagus lining, H2 blockers and Proton pump inhibitors.


  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Tums
  • Titralac
  • Gaviscon
  • Tagamet
  • Pepcid
  • Zantac
  • Omeprazole

Most of these are over-the-counter, branded products available from your local pharmacist or even the local supermarket. Some, however, are prescription drugs available only from your GP.

Heartburn is not an especially debilitating condition but, it is an irritant and can only add to the difficulties of living with Multiple Sclerosis.

While this kind of reflux is not considered a big problem, it may be indicative of other digestive difficulties that could have greater consequences.


Multiple Sclerosis Encyclopaedia

National Digestive Diseases Information

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