Heartburn is a problem for 60 million Americans at least once per month and 15 million Americans daily. The definition of heartburn is as a painful burning sensation in the chest caused by a back flow from the stomach, which irritates the esophagus. There are several behaviors that can make heartburn worse: smoking, certain common over the counter and prescription medications, stress, being overweight, fish oils supplements, and peppermint.
Smoking has been implicated in exacerbating many health conditions and heartburn is one on the list. Smoking can weaken the value that separates the esophagus, the tube that brings food from mouth, and the stomach. If the value is weak the acid from the stomach can flow backwards to the esophagus causing heartburn pain. If this happens consistently over time it can cause weakening of the esophagus and it has contributed to esophageal cancer in some cases. Common pain relieving medications like ibuprofen or naproxen have been shown to trigger heartburn. There are prescriptions medication such as antibiotics, certain medications for high blood pressure, certain medications for asthma, osteoporosis and sleeping medications. Stress has an interesting effect on stomach acid it actually reduces stomach acid. Since stomach acid is required for proper digestion when there is not enough it interrupts the normal digestion process. The acid production in the stomach starts being produced inappropriate and heartburn results. Having a body-mass index (BMI) that places you in the overweight or obese range causes a higher likelihood of heartburn according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association.
When it comes to heartburn even some natural remedies could cause upset heartburn. The two most common culprits are fish oil supplements and peppermint. Several people have reported that fish-oil supplements can cause them to burp when they take them and they taste oil in their mouth which indicates substances in the stomach flowing back into the esophagus and then the mouth. Peppermint often causes relief from upset stomach but with some people it can cause heartburn.