Do you know why you have heartburn? We discover what are the main causes of heartburn or gastric acidity, so you can discover why you suffer from it.

Heartburn happens when the inner esophageal sphincter (valve in our body that tends to keep stomach acids in the stomach) relaxes and doesn’t work properly. At this time, the  gases tend to burst into the esophagus, irritating and damaging the walls, favoring the appearance of the annoying sensation of heartburn. Its cure is simple when its causes can be easily treated; however, it is not always possible.

Also known by the name of heartburn, when its symptoms appear they are usually noticeable quickly, becoming a nuisance that in most cases ends up not going unnoticed: a burning sensation that goes from the stomach to the throat, chest pain that starts at the sternum and moves towards the throat, sensation that food returns to the mouth, sour or bitter taste in the back of the throat… These discomforts, especially pain, tend to increase when we bend over or lean we lay down

There are many people who suffer from heartburn every day, some occasionally (either because they have eaten certain foods or meals that cause it), or chronically in the presence of certain diseases or digestive disorders.

If you suffer from heartburn right now, suffer from it from time to time, or even have suffered from it for a long time, a useful option – in addition to going to your doctor – is to discover what its main causes are, and especially why. You suffer from heartburn.

Main causes of heartburn

1. Eating too much and in excess

There is no doubt that one of the best habits to take care of the digestive system and have good digestion is to eat small amounts of food. And it is that as we already saw in a previous article in which we talked to you about Digestive infusions for after copious meals , instead of putting a large plate full of food to overflowing, you can go ‘practicing’ and try to put small amounts, for example half the plate (and not fill it all).

In this way you will allow your digestive system to send the satiety signals that your brain needs to know that you are already full and that you are no longer hungry. Taking into account that the brain needs at least 20 minutes for this, it is also very important to eat slowly and slowly.

If you eat too much you will fill the capacities of your stomach, in such a way that you will increase the risk of leaving an ‘opening’ in the lower esophageal sphincter, which will cause the appearance of heartburn, since the stomach will in turn produce more gastric acids than normal.

2. Eat fast

We can say that this section has a direct relationship with the previous section, given that if we eat quickly we ultimately tend to eat too much and therefore in excess.

If we eat quickly we do not give our brain time to receive the different hormones that signal that our digestive system is full. Therefore, one of the main consequences is that we tend to eat more. In addition, when we eat fast we do not chew food well, so our digestion tends to suffer. The result is evident: the appearance of heavy digestion or indigestion, accompanied in many cases by heartburn and gas.

3. Certain meals, foods and beverages

Not only has the way we eat influenced the appearance of heartburn. It also affects what we eat, since there are certain dishes or foods that tend to cause heartburn.

We can mention, for example, fatty, spicy and seasoned foods, as well as fruits such as citrus fruitschocolate or sweets. We can also name certain drinks, such as carbonated drinks, coffee and black tea.

4. Unhealthy habits: smoking or drinking alcohol

Did you know that both alcohol and nicotine from tobacco can negatively influence your health in general and your digestive health in particular, and be a cause of heartburn? They cause the muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach to relax so that acidic gastric juices reach the esophagus.

5. Pregnancy

Obviously, we are facing a positive or more beneficial cause, since being pregnant has nothing to do with the causes mentioned above. However, it is a cause of heartburn.

In fact, more than half of pregnant women experience heartburn and heartburn at some point during their pregnancy. It is due to the action of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, since the protective constrictor muscle located between the stomach and the esophagus relaxes.

On the other hand, as the pregnancy progresses, the uterus becomes larger and larger, pressing on the stomach. For all these reasons, in the end the esophageal sphincter is not able to prevent acid gastric juices from passing into the esophagus.

6. Certain digestive diseases and disorders

There are some digestive diseases that are a direct or indirect cause of the appearance of heartburn. We can mention the following:

  • Gastritis, which is characterized by irritation of the gastric mucosa.
  • Emotional gastritis, it is a type of gastritis caused by emotional tensions, stress, nervousness and anxiety.
  • Gastro esophageal reflux disease, in which gastric juices pathologically reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.

7. Consumption of certain drugs

The consumption of certain medications, especially for long periods of time, can negatively influence the appearance of heartburn. Basically we can mention the following drugs:

  • Calcium channel blockers for the treatment of arterial hypertension.
  • Dopamine for the treatment of Parkinson’s.
  • Progestogen, used as a contraceptive or for excessive or abnormal menstrual bleeding.
  • Sedatives for the treatment of anxiety.
  • Sedatives for the treatment of insomnia.
  • Theophylline, for the treatment of certain lung diseases such as asthma.
  • Beta blockers, for the treatment of heart disease or high blood pressure.

As we can see, there are actually several causes that can cause the appearance of gastric acidity. Therefore, when heartburn appears from time to time, or every day, it is essential to go to the doctor, who will investigate the cause and can prescribe the most appropriate medical treatment.


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