PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hundreds of thousands of us suffer from heartburn.

Heartburn is really easy to explain. There is a tube that goes from our mouth to our stomach called the esophagus. The esophagus has a very tender lining unlike the lining of the stomach which is meant to deal with caustic stomach acid day after day.

There is a valve between the stomach and the esophagus and sometimes the acid gets into the esophagus and irritates the lining.

In many cases it’s a problem with that valve but sometimes certain foods like those with hot sauces or products with caffeine can increase the amount of stomach acid. Other common offenders are alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen and tobacco.

People who suffer from heartburn often tell you that it’s worse in the evening when they are in bed. This is because they are lying on their back and the acid can literally flow into the esophagus. Avoiding those irritating foods and taking antacids can help but if this is a problem that consistently occurs you should see your doctor because long-term damage is not good.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio