| 9/10/2018

Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux or acid indigestion, occurs when stomach acid rises into the oesophagus. It can cause a burning sensation in the chest, throat or neck, and can be confused with the pain of a heart attack, giving rise to the name Heartburn. Other possible symptoms of heartburn include an acid taste in your mouth, pain when you swallow, bloating, burping and perhaps surprisingly, wheezing.

There are several different causes of heartburn, some rather straight forward and others more complex. This short article will go through some of the causes of and possible treatments for acid reflux or heartburn.

The Causes of Heartburn

Food triggers

If you eat too much or too late, you may experience symptoms of acid reflux. Particular foods can also trigger heartburn, such as fatty or spicy foods. Some people have triggers individual to them, such as garlic or mint. Drinks can also cause acid reflux, for example alcohol and coffee.

Being overweight

The increased pressure on your stomach from being overweight can cause stomach acid to rise through the stomach valve and into your oesophagus. Wearing clothes that are too tight can also make this happen.


Smoking can cause heartburn. The smoke causes the muscle that closes the top of the stomach to relax, which allows the stomach acid to reflux.


Many women, especially in the later stages of pregnancy suffer heartburn symptoms. The growing baby increases pressure within the abdominal cavity, which in turn can lead to heartburn.

Diagnosis of heartburn

Diagnosis can usually be made based on your symptoms. However, there are choices of medical investigations that can confirm that you have acid reflux. These include ph. monitoring, testing the pressure present in the lower part of your oesophagus and passing a scope to visually inspect the upper digestive tract. A biopsy can also be taken from the oesophagus to test for inflammation and other cell changes.

Some Suggestions to Manage Heartburn

Avoid triggers

If smoking or drinking alcohol is your trigger, cut back your consumption, or stop completely. The same goes for any trigger foods.

Lose weight

If you are overweight, increasing your exercise and reducing your calories should help you drop a few pounds and should make a difference to your heartburn symptoms.


There are medications that can help with acid reflux. Antacids do not need a prescription from your doctor and you can buy them from the pharmacy or supermarket. If these don’t work, your doctor could prescribe medicine that may help. You may be required to take medication on a long-term basis.


About Ramsay Health Care

At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment!

At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment for your surgery. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy our Premium Care offering exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.

Please contact us for more information.

Paying for yourself?

Get in touch

Need some advice on a treatment price or booking an initial appointment?

We're here to help.

Or send us a message...