Does Losing Weight Trigger Heartburn?


heartburnHeartburn is something which everybody suffers from once in a while, particularly after an indulgent meal. However, for some people it becomes an almost daily source of misery.

Here are some of the symptoms, and an explanation of how your weight might be linked with your heartburn problem.

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when the acid from the stomach, which is responsible for digestion, passes up through the esophagus. This is the tubular muscle which takes food from the throat to the stomach.

When This Happens, The Following Symptoms Can Occur:

    • Heartburn – The main symptom of the condition is a sharp or burning chest pain. This will happen shortly after eating.
    • Acid reflux – When stomach acid is regurgitated, it can leave a bitter and unpleasant taste in the mouth.
    • Dysphagia – People with severe heartburn may find it hard to swallow.

Acid RefluxIf you only suffer from these symptoms on occasion then there is probably nothing to worry about, as acid reflux and heartburn are not typically serious.

However, you should seek advice from a doctor if you start to get these symptoms on a regular basis as there may be an underlying condition which is exacerbating the heartburn.

Can Losing Weight Cause Heartburn?

Some people who are trying to lose a few pounds will notice an increase in incidences of heartburn. This is not directly linked to the act of losing weight, but to the change in diet which is facilitating the weight loss. If you are suffering from heartburn on a regular basis, try keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks to see if there are any possible triggers.

For example, some people find that fruit and vegetables such as onions, tomatoes or oranges can cause acid reflux. Certain beverages such as caffeine can also cause problems in susceptible individuals. Small and frequent meals have been shown to be better for heartburn, and is worth trying if the symptoms are making your life miserable.

wieght loseThis is because it will reduce the pressure on your stomach and make reflux less likely. Frequent meals have also been shown to reduce snacking, which will have the additional benefit of increasing your weight loss.

If you cannot find a link between what you are eating and your heartburn, make an appointment with your doctor and get medical advice to help alleviate the condition. Do not assume that your weight loss is the cause of the problem and give up on the diet. There is, in fact, very good scientific evidence that losing weight can improve heartburn.

How Heartburn Is Linked With Weight Loss

There have been numerous scientific studies which support the fact that being overweight is a contributing factor in recurrent heartburn. In one of the largest studies ever conducted into the subject, it was found that being just 10 pounds overweight was sufficient to increase the risk of heartburn by an amazing 300 percent.

The reasons for this are not yet clear, but it has been hypothesized that it is due to increased pressure on the stomach area. Since obese people often carry the majority of the excess fat stores around their middle, the pressure could theoretically force acid from the stomach into the esophagus. In addition to this, doctors have found that obese patients often have a weak sphincter.

heart burnThis is the mechanism which is supposed to prevent acid from leaking out of the stomach. Overeating, in people of all shapes and sizes, can put pressure on the sphincter and cause heartburn, but it is more likely if your sphincter is already under strain.

The good news is that losing weight should yield results very quickly, and that your risk of heartburn will decrease for every 5 pounds lost.

A weight loss of 20 pounds should cut your risk factor by around 40 percent, although there are variations based on your starting weight and how much you need to lose to attain a health BMI. Losing weight can be very beneficial to your overall health and can reduce the symptoms of heartburn. Speak to your doctor if you need more information on either losing weight or alleviating heartburn.


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