Diseases & Conditions


Various lifestyle and dietary factors can contribute to heartburn by: increasing the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing it to open; increasing the amount of acid in the stomach; increasing stomach pressure; or by making the esophagus more sensitive to harsh acids. These factors include the following:

Eating and dietary habits
  • Eating large portions
  • Eating certain foods such as onions, chocolate, peppermint, high-fat foods, citrus fruits, garlic, spicy foods, and tomatoes or tomato-based products
  • Drinking things such as alcohol, citrus juices, caffeinated beverages, and carbonated beverages
  • Eating shortly before bedtime
Lifestyle habits
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Wearing tight-fitting clothing or tight belts
  • Certain positions, such as lying down or bending over, especially after eating
  • Stress
Medical reasons
  • Pregnancy
  • Bulging of the stomach into the chest, also called hiatal hernia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Taking certain medications, especially some anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/12/2007...#9611

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