Heartburn – What’s your trigger? 7 Heartburn Causes to Avoid


That all too familiar burning feeling can have you clutching your stomach in dismay! If you’ve had heartburn, you surely know how crazy annoying it can be and the best way to treat it is to know the causes of heartburn!

So, while you’re spending an agonizing moment rubbing that place between your ribs, I’m sure you’re wondering what are the causes of heartburn. Looking back to what you ate or did can be helpful in determining what triggered the sudden pain.

Heartburn is a condition where some food and acid in your stomach suddenly flow back into the esophagus. These acidic contents can then cause irritation. This is what causes you to feel that burning sensation just between your lower ribs.

So what could have triggered your heartburn? Here are some causes of heartburn and triggers you can avoid in the future!

Causes of heartburn:

Caffeinated beverages

Oh yes, your favorite espresso shot or that steaming hot latte is can be one of the causes of heartburn. The caffeine in coffee, tea and other drinks causes the stomach to produce more acid. This increases the chances for heartburn, especially when taken without food (coffee first thing in the morning sound familiar? ).

Drinking too much

That glass of red wine can help you wind down the evening, but too much of it can actually be one of the causes of heartburn. Alcoholic drinks tend to relax a part of the digestive system called the lower esophageal sphincter. This structure is found just at the entrance to your stomach and helps keep food and acid in. So it may not be a good idea to down that extra glass of wine after all, especially if you’re having it before bedtime. Which leads us to the next heartburn trigger.

Eating just before bedtime

After we eat, food stays in the stomach for about 2 to 3 hours before it passes on into the intestines. Having a large snack too close to lying down for bedtime (or a nap) is asking for trouble. Lying down encourages the stomach contents to go back up and slows down the emptying of stomach contents into the intestines.

Taking certain meds

It isn’t just food or drink that’s the culprit. Medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, as well as other NSAIDs, can cause stomach upset and encourage heartburn. The best thing you can do is take them after eating to lessen the chances for gastric irritation.

Read more about taking medicine at right time in my post: Best Time To Take Medicines – Everything You Need to Know

Acidic and spicy foods

Foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits and pineapples have high acid content that can trigger heartburn. Though these fruits aren’t a trigger for some people, it’s still best to take precautions if you’re prone to heartburn. Try taking these fruits after a meal (yay, fruity desserts!) or mixing them in recipes to lessen their acidity. Spicy foods like garlic, onions, chili and mint can cause an upset stomach ins some people as well. Try to avoid foods that contain large amounts of these spices.


That nicotine-laden cigarette isn’t just bad for your lungs, but fr your stomach as well. Smoking loosens the lower esophageal sphincter, giving food and acid a higher chance to flow back from the stomach. So, saving yourself from painful, frequent heartburn may well be worth giving up the habit!

Large meals, especially fat-laden ones

Stuffing yourself may feel satisfying, but it’s also asking for a case of heartburn. Large meals stretch the stomach and put pressure on the esophageal sphincter. This can force some of the stomach contents back into the esophagus, giving you that searing pain. Additionally, fatty and greasy foods stay longer in your belly. This causes increased acid production which can later splash back up into your throat.