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Things That Can Cause Heartburn

What Is Heartburn Or Acid Reflux

Pregnancy Heartburn: Causes, Symptoms, and Foods that Help

Heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux all refer to the same thing the burning feeling you get when acid from your stomach comes up into your esophagus. Up is the wrong direction for digestive fluids, for the record.

Stomach acid is a good thing. Your stomach secretes it on purpose to help you break down and digest your food. Its only when production is too high or too low that things start to get uncomfortable.

You may have experienced acid reflux without even realizing it. In addition to burning in your chest, acid reflux can cause:

  • Belching during or after meals
  • Feeling a lump in your throat
  • Bitter taste in the back of your mouth
  • Swallowing problems
  • Dry cough
  • Regurgitation of food

Lots of things trigger one-off bouts of acid indigestion eating something that didnt agree with you, a stressful day, intense activity, or lying down too soon after eating.

Theres a difference, though, between occasional mild indigestion and regularly waking up in the middle of the night breathing fire. If you get acid reflux more than a couple times a week, or if you regularly experience fiery heartburn that you feel in your chest, throat or lungs, you need to do something about it.

Spicy And Fatty Foods

Theres a thing that may look quite surprising.

Despite spicy and fatty foods are a widely accepted cause of heartburn and acid reflux, still, there are some shadow zones on this topic.

To make things clearer, we can refer to a specific study that has been carried out in 2007 .

According to findings, meals with a high content of fats may be considered a cause of heartburn.

For sure, some highly spiced meals like hot Indian curry led to important heartburn episodes.

However, within the same fatty meal, the addition of spicy foods does not further increase the reflux.

This means that both of them, fatty and spicy foods, should be avoided.

Fatty meals have a lower power of inducing heartburn than spicy meals, but their action when combined seems not to add risks and dangers to the people.

Heartburn Tip: Limit Acidic Foods

There are other options for fresh fruits besides acidic tomatoes and citrus fruits, but you may still enjoy small portions of acidic foods if you eat them in combination with non-acidic foods such as with pasta or with vegetables. The acidity will be reduced when acidic foods are eaten in small amounts combined with other non-acidic foods. If you find some foods you like are acidic, try eating them in small amounts with other foods to see if heartburn symptoms do not develop.

Recommended Reading: How To Tell The Difference Between Heartburn And Chest Pain

Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own

For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.

What Causes Acid Reflux Disease

Causes and Treatments of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Several factors may increase your risk for acid reflux disease.

Stomach abnormalities. One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia, which can occur in people of any age. A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. This is the muscle wall separating your stomach from your chest. When it works correctly, the diaphragm normally helps keep acid from rising into your esophagus. But if you have a hiatal hernia, it is easier for acid to move up into your esophagus.

Pregnancy. Many women experience acid reflux for the first time during pregnancy. This is caused by increasing levels of hormones combined with pressure from the growing fetus. Usually worst during the third trimester, the symptoms almost always go away after delivery.

Smoking.Smoking may contribute to acid reflux disease by doing any of the following:

  • Damaging mucus membranes
  • Impairing muscle reflexes in the throat
  • Increasing acid secretion

Read Also: Symptoms Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux

What Causes Acid Reflux In Babies

Under normal circumstances, they are called happy spitters.

This means that the majority of infants face this physiologic condition that occurs several times a day, mostly postprandial with no symptoms.

In most cases, this condition doesnt deserve any treatment, and it resolves on its own within the first year of life .

The cause, once again, is the lower pressure of the esophageal sphincter.

The problem arises when these regurgitation episodes lead to feeding difficulties and poor weight gain.

Its important to constantly monitor the situation, but only in a few cases, this condition persists after the first 7-10 months of life.

Anyway, you can find more about that.

Not just for babies and infants, eating some dairy products can increase the risk, even though a significant number of people report relief from symptoms.

Foods That Help Acid Reflux

  • Vegetables and non-citrus fruits â Aside from the âbadâ foods listed above, nearly all fruits and vegetables help reduce stomach acid. Theyâre also low fat, low sugar, and provide fiber and important nutrients.
  • Whole grains â High fiber, whole-grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain breads help stop symptoms of acid reflux. They are a good source of fiber and may help absorb stomach acid.
  • Lean protein â Low-fat, lean sources of protein also reduce symptoms. Good choices are chicken, seafood, tofu, and egg whites. The best ways to prepare them are baked, broiled, poached, or grilled.
  • Beans, peas, and lentils â Along with being good sources of fiber, beans, peas, and lentils also provide protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Nuts and seeds â Many nuts and seeds provide fiber and nutrients and may help absorb stomach acid. Almonds, peanuts, chia, pomegranate, and flaxseeds are all healthy choices.
  • Yogurt â Not only is yogurt soothing to an irritated esophagus, but it provides probiotics that support your digestive tract. Itâs also good source of protein.
  • Healthy fats â Fat is a necessary nutrient but eating too many fatty foods can trigger acid reflux. Replacing unhealthy fats with unsaturated fats can help. Avocados, olive oil, walnuts, and soy products are good choices for healthy fats.
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    Heartburn Tip: Cut Back On Fat

    Some people may have to give up their favorite foods to avoid heartburn. However, if some of your favorite foods such as shrimp are prepared broiled and not fried, wrapped in fatty bacon, or consumed in large quantities, they may be enjoyed without causing heartburn. Trimming the fat off meat, baking, grilling, broiling, or roasting some foods instead of frying them can help reduce the risk of heartburn.

    How Do Acid Blockers Work To Treat Heartburn

    Worst Foods to Eat with Acid Reflux (GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) | How to Reduce Symptoms

    Products like Pepcid AC® are called histamine H2 blockers, or acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. They relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach. Always follow the directions on the packaging or talk to your healthcare provider about how to take this medication. Acid blockers you can buy without a prescription include:

    • Pepcid AC®.
    • Tagamet HB®.

    Take your acid blocker medicine regularly for as long as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you do not have any pain or if your symptoms get better.

    Stronger acid blockers are prescription medications. These can be used to block stomach acid, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and GERD. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Your healthcare provider will give you a specific prescription for this type of acid blocker.

    The United States Food and Drug Administration recently reported elevated levels of a possible carcinogen, NDMA, in the drugs ranitidine and nizatidine . You should speak to your healthcare provider if you are taking one these medications.

    Read Also: What Gives You Heartburn At Night

    Certain Food Items Can Trigger Heartburn

    there are many types of food items that are commonly known to trigger heartburn and acidity. Apart from fatty foods, spicy food items and those with higher acid content can start off acid reflux.

    Food items such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppermint, garlic, onions, and several spices are well-known heartburn triggers. Tomatoes, garlic, and spices irritate the gut and cause increased acid production.

    Fruits and vegetables that have high acid contents such as citruses increase the amount of total acid in the stomach. Conversely, such food items decrease the pH of the gut and make it more acidic.

    How to avoid: eating a large number of citrus fruits, tomatoes, and curry products, foods that contain a lot of spices, onions, and garlic is a strict no-no. Small amounts of such items can be taken if the person does not suffer from severe acid reflux but large meals containing these items should be avoided.

    Heartburn Triggers: Heartburn And Medications

    Many different medications can trigger heartburn, or make heartburn worse. An aspirin here or there is not likely to lead to that fiery feeling. But regular use of aspirin or a popular class of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may irritate the esophagus. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription Cox-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex. These drugs are often used to treat arthritis.

    Several different types of blood pressure medicines can also cause heartburn. Many blood pressure and heart disease medicines, including calcium channel blockers and nitrates, relax the LES muscle, making it easy for your stomach acids to retreat backwards.

    Several other types of medications are known to relax the LES muscle and lead to heartburn. They include:

    Read Also: Foods You Can Eat With Heartburn

    What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux

    Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.

    With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.

    While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.

    When Should You See A Doctor For Heartburn

    What Are Causes Of Heartburn? 9 Things That Promote Reflux

    Regular heartburn could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. It is possible, however, to have GERD without having heartburn, and to have heartburn without having GERD. Its important to know when to talk to a doctor for heartburn.

    You should see a medical professional if you experience heartburn more than twice a week, if your symptoms dont get better after using over-the-counter medicines, or if your symptoms affect your quality of life. Your doctor will help identify the underlying causes of your health problem and help establish a plan to treat or manage your symptoms. This may include a referral to a gastroenterologist.

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    Consider Eating Less Chocolate

    GERD patients are sometimes advised to avoid or limit their consumption of chocolate. However, the evidence for this recommendation is weak.

    One small, uncontrolled study showed that consuming 4 ounces of chocolate syrup weakened the lower esophageal sphincter .

    Another controlled study found that drinking a chocolate beverage increased the amount of acid in the esophagus, compared to a placebo .

    Nevertheless, further studies are needed before any strong conclusions can be made about the effects of chocolate on reflux symptoms.


    There is limited evidence that chocolate worsens reflux symptoms. A few studies suggest it might, but more research is needed.

    What Causes Heartburn In Pregnancy

    Pregnancy time deserves a special mention when discussing heartburn and acid reflux.

    You can find more info in our dedicated article, however, its important to cover the basics.

    The main factor for the onset of heartburn during pregnancy is the increased abdominal pressure.

    This event causes much more effects than simple heartburn, however, the reason is this one.

    In association with nausea and vomiting, heartburn during pregnancy has to be considered a common event.

    In addition, there is sufficient evidence to say that heartburn during pregnancy does not appear to adversely affect the outcome of pregnancy. The same is for vomiting and nausea.

    Scientific literature explains that women with a personal story of heartburn are more likely to develop it during pregnancy.

    Last, but not least, women with heartburn during pregnancy are more predisposed to early postpartum heartburn.

    Recommended Reading: Acid Reflux But No Heartburn

    Limit Your Intake Of Carbonated Beverages

    Patients with GERD are sometimes advised to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.

    One observational study found that carbonated soft drinks were associated with increased acid reflux symptoms .

    Also, controlled studies show that drinking carbonated water or cola temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, compared to drinking plain water .

    The main reason is the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages, which causes people to belch more often an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus .


    Carbonated beverages temporarily increase the frequency of belching, which may promote acid reflux. If they worsen your symptoms, try drinking less or avoiding them altogether.

    The Link Between Acid Reflux And Heartburn

    21 FOODS that cause HEARTBURN – AVOID these FOODS!

    We have already mentioned that bananas can cause acid reflux and heartburn, but how exactly are the two connected? Are they the same? Or are they unrelated subjects?

    Well, the answer simply said is that heartburn is often a symptom of acid reflux.

    To put it simply, one leads to the other.

    Acid reflux happens when your stomach acid enters the esophagus. Since the esophaguss position is right behind your heart, you would instantly feel a burn, identified as heartburn.

    Depending on the intensity of pain that you may feel during heartburn, there is even a chance that you might mistake it for a heart attack. But you can differentiate between the two easily since heartburn is much more likely to happen after eating.

    And be careful! Any sort of movement, including bending or laying down, can intensify the pain.

    Recommended Reading: What Can I Eat Or Drink To Stop Heartburn

    What Are The Health Benefits Of Cinnamon

    Cinnamon has 26 mg of calcium, 11 mg of potassium, 3 mcg of beta carotene and 8 UI of Vitamin A.

    Cinnamon has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which potentially help with a significant number of health conditions. However, insufficient research does not back up most of the claimed health benefits of cinnamon.

    Cinnamon has been proven to reduce blood sugar in the short term and control diabetes. However, it did not seem to be effective in the long run. It could also reduce cholesterol and obesity.

    Cinnamon can also protect against Heart disease, Alzheimers disease, cancer, HIV, and allergies.

    Acid Reflux Diet: 8 Foods To Eat & Avoid

    Acid reflux, that irritating backflow of stomach acid up into your esophagus, is often triggered by what you eat and drink. Eat the wrong food and youâre sure to feel the burn. Some foods are known to cause reflux more than others.

    Quick reminder: If you have heartburn more than twice per week, you may have a more serious condition called GERDschedule an appointment today.

    Here are 8 foods to avoid if you have acid reflux, and 8 foods that keep you free from the burn and keep you healthier overall. A win-win!

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    How Is Heartburn Treated

    In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.

    Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.

    What Aggravates Acid Reflux

    Foods That Cause Heartburn: Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions ...

    Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isnt working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says UH gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD

    Diet changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow you to avoid other treatments, Dr. Khaitan says.

    Also Check: How Soon Does Heartburn Start In Pregnancy

    How Can A Banana Cause Heartburn

    Bananas are usually low in acid, so sometimes, they can be recommended as a fruit that can help reduce acid reflux.

    But you should know that ripe bananas have a pH value of 5, which does get classified as a mildly acidic fruit. Therefore, if eaten on an empty stomach or eaten in large amounts, bananas may cause acid reflux which in turn causes heartburn.

    Another way that a banana can cause heartburn is if the banana is not ripe yet when you eat it. This might cause a trigger within your body that causes acid reflux.

    This trigger can also be caused by an underlying disease known as GERD. GERD is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

    Eating raw bananas or eating them on an empty stomach can cause your stomach acid to try and travel up into the esophagus, causing GERD.

    Why Does Heartburn Happen

    Heartburn goes by many names you might also know it as acid reflux or acid indigestion. It is a burning or tingling feeling that occurs when the contents of your stomach rise into your food pipe . Mild heartburn is quite common, and most healthy people will experience it from time to time.

    To understand why we get heartburn, it can help to think about how the oesophagus and stomach work.

    There is a ring of muscle where the oesophagus and stomach meet . It relaxes to allow food into the stomach and tightens to prevent stomach contents from moving back up into the oesophagus.

    In the stomach, strong acids help break down food as part of the digestive process. While your stomach is built to withstand this acid, your oesophagus is not.

    If the oesophageal sphincter is weak, or relaxes when it shouldnt, the stomachs contents can move up into the oesophagus and causes pain, irritation, and discomfort. This backward flow is called reflux, and the burning chest pain is known as heartburn.

    Lying down or bending over can make heartburn feel worse, as the acidic stomach contents can travel further up the oesophagus.

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