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Heartburn Triggers

Controlling your heartburn trigger can help reduce how often you burn. But everyone’s triggers may be different. There are many reasons for heartburn. They are often linked to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxing or weakening and letting acid escape from the stomach into the esophagus. Common heartburn triggers are certain types of foods, the time you eat, and how fast you eat.

COMMON HEARTBURN TRIGGERS

Triggers that cause heartburn
Things that can make heartburn worse

TRIGGERS THAT CAUSE HEARTBURN

Increased pressure on your abdomen
Being overweight, obese, or pregnant; eating heavy meals; or wearing certain clothing that might be too tight around your abdomen may cause excess pressure.

Certain types of medication
If you think your medication may be causing heartburn, speak to your doctor. Never stop taking any prescription medication without consulting your doctor.

Smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke
Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and can also contribute to other digestive conditions, as well as cause cancer.

Greasy, spicy, or fatty foods
Learn more about specific foods that trigger heartburn and how to help manage your diet.

Caffeinated beverages
Coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks are common heartburn triggers.

Alcohol
Red wine is worse than white wine as a heartburn trigger, though both increase stomach acid production.

THINGS THAT CAN MAKE HEARTBURN WORSE

Acidic foods
Watch out for other heartburn triggers like citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and tomato sauces.

Foods that increase stomach acid
Sugary, heavy, greasy, and fatty foods are harder to digest, which means your stomach needs to make more acid to break them down.

Lying down
Lying in a horizontal position can make it easier for acid to creep up out of your stomach into your esophagus. Eating too close to bedtime can also trigger heartburn if your body is still digesting a lot of food when you lie down.

Stress
Stress can make heartburn worse, as well as make you reach for triggers like cigarettes, alcohol, or greasy comfort food.

Making changes to your lifestyle and diet can make a big difference in managing heartburn. Notice which things you suspect may be causing your heartburn. You may even want to keep a heartburn diary for a while. The goal is to get better at making choices, not to totally eliminate triggers.