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Causes of Heartburn

Posted Apr 25 2010 7:21pm

Heartburn can be caused by many different things in our lives.  Some of these things can be changed or treated to reduce the frequency and intensity of the heartburn symptoms.

causes of heartburn

Lifestyle and Activities That Cause Heartburn

Some of the choices we make in our lifestyles can contribute to heartburn.  Being overweight, drinking alcohol and smoking all cause heartburn.  By losing some weight you can help begin to reduce the amount of heartburn you have.  Avoid lying down after eating and bending forward after eating, especially if you are overweight, these activities are causes of heartburn and you are placing pressure on an already full stomach, increasing the chances of a heartburn attack. Stopping smoking and alcohol consumption can be two of the best things you can do for your health overall, if you are not able to stop completely then reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke and the amount of alcohol you consume to help stop heartburn attacks.

Underlying Disease

It is important that you see your physician if your heartburn is becoming more frequent and more intense.  The symptoms of heartburn can be confused with other more serious conditions.  GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) causes stomach acid to be regurgitated back to the esophagus which can easily be confused with heartburn symptoms.  GERD can lead to injury to the esophagus and severe complications if left untreated.  Heartburn can also be a symptom of peptic ulcers, there is treatment to reduce the effects of peptic ulcers and heal the lesions on the lining of your stomach. Another cause of heartburn is a hiatial hernia, which occurs because the upper portion of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm and is partly in the chest cavity.  When this occurs the lower esophageal stricture is weakened or doesn’t close properly increasing the risk of heartburn.

Foods Causing Heartburn

Several foods have been associated with heartburn.  Many of these are acidic foods such as tomato based foods, citrus fruits and foods like caffeine and chocolate.  Spicy dishes have also been known to cause heartburn.  Limit the amounts of these foods to help reduce attacks.  Eating smaller more frequent meals can help reduce attacks as opposed to eating very large infrequent meals.  When your stomach is full and bloated, especially with acidic and spicy foods you are more likely to experience heartburn.  Determine which foods commonly cause you heartburn and either do not eat them, or eat very small amounts of them to stop heartburn.

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