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Can Coffee Cause Heartburn?

can coffee cause heartburn?

Many people like to start their day with a cup of coffee. In fact, it’s often a part of their daily routine that they look forward to. However, if you struggle with heartburn, you may notice that your symptoms become worse after drinking coffee. The sad truth is that coffee truly can worsen heartburn or acid reflux symptoms for many people.

But why?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how coffee may actually be making your heartburn worse.

What Is Heartburn?

Acid reflux, or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which separates the stomach from the esophagus. The esophagus’s lining is not equipped to withstand the acidity of the stomach acid, so it becomes irritated. Most people describe the feeling of acid reflux as a burning sensation in the chest that worsens when lying down.

Why Does Coffee Cause Heartburn?

Coffee can cause heartburn for many different reasons.

  • Acid Content: Coffee is naturally acidic, which can irritate the lining of the esophagus. This leads to heartburn and acid reflux for many people.
  • Stimulates Acid Production: Coffee can stimulate your stomach to produce more acid than usual. For people with acid reflux, this increased acid production can significantly worsen heartburn symptoms.
  • Relaxation of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES): Coffee can relax the LES. This valve separates the stomach from the esophagus and usually prevents stomach acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. When the LES becomes relaxed or weakened, stomach acid can more easily travel into the esophagus and cause heartburn.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine has been known to increase acidity in the stomach, which can worsen heartburn and acid reflux.

Does Coffee Cause Heartburn for Everyone?

Fortunately, coffee will not cause heartburn in everyone. Although coffee has been shown to contribute to heartburn, some people are more sensitive to its effects than others. Other than a known history of acid reflux, many factors, such as the type of coffee, how it was brewed, and whether or not it was consumed on an empty stomach, can influence coffee’s impact on your digestive system.

Do I Have to Stop Drinking Coffee?

Before you consider quitting your morning cup of coffee, try these helpful tips to reduce your risk of developing heartburn.

  • Try eating something before taking your first sip of coffee in the morning
  • Try swapping your coffee out for a half-caffeinated or decaf blend
  • Decrease the amount of coffee you drink per day
  • Do not drink coffee in the afternoon or before lying down
  • Consider a cold brew, as it tends to be less acidic than other types of coffee

Getting Relief for Your Heartburn

If you experience heartburn more than two to three times a week or if over-the-counter medications aren’t working, it’s time to seek care from a gastroenterologist. They can diagnose the cause of your heartburn symptoms and help you stop having constant heartburn.

Don’t continue to suffer from heartburn – schedule an appointment today!

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