5 Unexpected Causes of Heartburn

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Abdominal Pressure

Abdominal pressure can cause heartburn as well. For example, pregnant women are often prone to increased acid reflux. While wives tales report that this is because of hair forming on the baby, in truth, the extra pounds sitting beneath the stomach increases the amount of pressure on it, and thus on the esophageal sphincter.

Similarly, obesity can contribute to acid reflux, particularly for those who tend to hold their weight around the middle. Even just leaning forward forces excess fat into the stomach, which pushes against the sphincter. Furthermore, if you’re very overweight, you’re body probably isn’t very healthy to begin with, and you probably aren’t eating a very healthy diet. In fact, you may be prone to overeating or eating large amounts of high-fat foods. Changing your diet can not only help you slim down, it can help prevent some of that acid reflux you’ve been dealing with. 

Hiatal hernias are another cause of acid reflux. The esophagus passes through a sort of tunnel in the diaphragm, where it meets the stomach at the esophageal sphincter. When the stomach is forced back up through that tunnel, a hiatal hernia results. Essentially, the diaphragm forms a sort of rubber band around the end of the stomach that is attached to the esophagus. If the hiatal hernia is small, it may not be an issue at all—or at least not for many years. Larger hiatal hernias, however, can cause all sorts of problems as they begin to change the way the esophageal sphincter functions, which in turn causes heartburn. If you suspect you have a hiatal hernia, talk to your doctor about treatment options.  

Did you know...

  • There are many factors that contribute to your body odor, but one of the strongest links is our diet. This may be some bad news for meat-lovers because many studies have shown that those who refrained from or ate less red meat were judged as being more pleasant smelling. The meat sweats are real, and they don’t smell great!
  • Have you ever told your husband something and he promptly forgets it? It's not his fault, actually. It really is because he's a man. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with memory) begins to shrink with age faster in men than it does in women. That's why you can remember everything, and he can't!
  • Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
  • Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.
  • Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!