Certain foods can trigger
Certain foods and beverages are
known to stimulate the production of stomach acid, while
others can weaken the barrier between the stomach and
esophagus. Both chocolate and coffee are thought to cause the
lower esophageal sphincter to relax and allow the contents of
the stomach to back up into the esophagus.
Other triggers associated with heartburn include:
- Late night
- Too much to
pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco
- Tea, hot
chocolate, cola soft drinks, and other drinks with
- Citrus fruits
- Tomatoes and
- Fried, fatty,
and spicy foods
But there are other heartburn triggers.
Heartburn occurs at night
because the effects of gravity can cause food and acid to back
up into the esophagus more easily when you are lying down. If
you are bothered by heartburn at night, experts recommend
sleeping on your left side, as right-sided sleep has been
shown to worsen heartburn.
Many people experience a stomach
ache, diarrhea or loss of appetite in response to stress.
While stress itself does not cause heartburn, it does foster
behaviors that can lead to it.
For example, eating too much,
eating more fatty foods than usual, drinking more alcohol,
smoking more, or eating on the run can cause heartburn. All
digestive functions are mediated by nerve impulses and hormone
signals in the body. Stress can alter these signals, thereby
disrupting normal bowel functioning.
Alcohol weakens the lower
esophageal sphincter, causing heartburn by allowing acidic
stomach contents to flow upwards into the esophagus.
Studies show smokers have
decreased gastric motility while smoking, which can cause less
efficient digestion. Smoking can cause heartburn by weakening
the esophageal sphincter. Smoking also causes an increased
production of acid and movement of intestinal bile into the
stomach, which makes the burning back-flow more harmful. The
effects of smoking on the digestive system are usually
temporary and are generally reversible when smoking stops.
Conditions that put
pressure on the stomach…
Approximately one third of
all adults in the U.S. are currently overweight. Both
being overweight or obese carry health risks, including
diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain
types of cancer, and gallbladder disease. Both can also
worsen heartburn due to excessive pressure in the area of
the stomach or abdomen "pushing" stomach
contents back up into the esophagus. Studies show that
exercise and weight reduction can reduce heartburn.
Nearly 50% of pregnant women
complain of heartburn in the later stages of pregnancy. If
you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking any
Bending forward or lying down
too soon after meals
76% of people who suffer stomach
ailments suffer most often and severely at night:
- Food and acid
can back up into the esophagus more easily when you are
- Lying down
places extra pressure on your stomach and esophagus.
suggest sleeping on the left side of the body, as opposed
to the right side. Due to the natural curve of the
esophagus right-sided sleep has been shown to exacerbate
40 percent of Americans have a
- Hiatal hernia
pokes through the diaphragm, preventing the lower
esophageal sphincter from closing completely and allowing
acid to travel more freely back into the esophagus.
- Though not a
cause of heartburn, larger hiatal hernias tend to develop
in patients who have long-term gastroesophageal reflux