Causes of heartburn: heart burn treatments

5 Causes of Heartburn. Plus, Natural Treatments That Actually Work

Knowing these causes can help you escape the burn

In this post, you’ll learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of heartburn.

Let’s dive in right away.

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest. It happens because contents in the stomach flow back up into the esophagus. 

The esophagus connects the mouth to the stomach. In general, there are acids in the stomach to digest food. 

The stomach protects itself from these acids. But the esophagus doesn’t have any protection. 

And this is why when the stomach acid gets into the esophagus, it creates that burning sensation. 


Heartburn is when a person has a burning sensation in their chest and is not able to digest any food well. 

It is a very discomforting feeling. 

What are the causes of heartburn?

There are several causes of heartburn. 

1. Acid Reflux or GERD

Most of the time, the situation arises from acid reflux or GERD. 

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is an uncomfortable experience. It’s when food contents in the stomach get back up into the esophagus.

GERD is more common than you’d think. Research estimates that between 18.1 and 27.8 percent in North America experience GERD.

Whenever you eat something that your body does not accept or the timing of eating is not right. 

The stomach reacts to it, and all stomach acids travel up to our esophagus and cause acidity. 

It is an inconvenience for the person and results in constant burps.

2. Hiatal hernia 

Another cause of heartburn is Hiatal hernia. This is where the stomach pushes itself upwards towards the chest. 

Studies show that obese people are more likely to develop hiatus hernia.

This is a very discomforting sensation, and this causes heartburn. 

If you are suffering from this problem, then you can expect heart burns at an increased velocity. 

The pain in the chest can be so discomforting that many people take it as a heart attack. But it’s is not.

And it has completely different symptoms from that of a heart problem. 

3. Pregnancy-related causes

Heartburns are quite common in pregnant women. 


Studies show the prevalence of heartburn during pregnancy is between 17 and 45 percent.

When pregnant, the progesterone hormone induces a type of relaxation movement. This happens in the esophageal area.

This causes the change of stomach fluids and acids to reach out to the esophagus. 

4. Smoking

Also, many lifestyle choices and health conditions invoke the burning sensation. Particularly, smoking. 

Research in the World Journal of Gastroenterology shows that smoking contributes to heartburn. 

Smoking affects the layer of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Let me explain.

The name of this muscle is the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES prevents stomach contents from getting back up into the esophagus.

In general, there are acids in the stomach that digest food. 

The stomach protects itself from these acids. But the esophagus doesn’t have any protection. 

And this is why when the stomach acid gets into the esophagus, it creates that burning sensation. It could even damage the layer in there.

5. Obesity

Obesity is a leading factor in heartburn and GERD symptoms. Especially, abdominal obesity.

This is partly because of the effect on metabolism effects.

Losing belly fat is not only good for aesthetics. It’s also good for your digestion.

Controlled weight loss can help to improve heartburn symptoms.


Smokers, drinkers and obese people are more likely to experience frequent heartburn.

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

While heartburn may be common, it’s important to pay attention if it too frequent.

If the burning sensations are regular, talk to your physician. 

What if heartburn persists after medications or home remedies? It could be a sign of something much severe or worse. 

The constant pain is abnormal, and you report it to your doctor. 

Someone with a history of gastrointestinal problems is prone to frequent heartburn. 

If you have ulcers, hernia or sores inside your stomach or esophagus lining, then the burning sensation would give you tough times. 

A few of the other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Unable to eat
  • Blood in stool
  • Pain or difficulty while swallowing your food
  • Dizziness
  • More than usual pain in your chest
  • Back and shoulder pain 

The pain may be as light as gastrointestinal pain. Or as severe as a heart attack because of the crushing pain. 

Recognize your symptoms sooner than later. And do get it treated as you don’t want to get something much worse. 

What are the treatments for heartburn? 

If your heartburn due to your lifestyle habits, simple changes can help. Consider quitting smoking. 


Or you can also set a fitness goal and take baby steps toward it. For example, decide to do 15 minutes of morning exercise each day.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Some of the changes that you can do as follows if you are experiencing heartburn: 

  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Don’t lay down immediately after a meal. Walking after eating can help.
  • Give time to your digestive system to settle down before lying down on your bed.  
  • Avoid chocolates or caffeine or even aerated drinks that can induce acid reflux. 

Food choices will be critical if you want to stop heartburn. And one of these choices will include when to eat.

Other food choices include:

  • Avoid extra spicy food if it’s not suitable for you.
  • Avoid citrus fruits like lemons, and oranges that can also induce pain in your chest due to acidity. 

If even with these steps undertaken, your condition doesn’t improve, get medical guidance. 

Your physician can review your previous medical records. 

And keep a check on your symptoms to determine the exact problem that you are going through. Medical help would be your best bet in extreme cases.