Some heartburn triggers are obvious: chili dogs, chocolate cake, Thanksgiving. But heartburn doesn't stop and start with food alone. If you have heartburn, it's time to track down the real culprit. Scroll through to learn some surprising triggers.
Smoking can weaken the valve between the stomach and esophagus (so stomach acid flows back into the esophagus), cut down on saliva (which normally flushes stomach acid out of the esophagus) and more. (Getty Images)
When used regularly, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can trigger heartburn. Antibiotics, calcium channel blockers, bronchodilators, osteoporosis drugs and some sedatives also make the list. (Getty Images)
The oil in fish oil – not the fish – is responsible for gastrointestinal side effects. Fish itself is excellent food for heartburn sufferers when used in a healthy, heartburn-soothing recipe. (Getty Images)
Stress doesn’t cause an off-the-charts surge in stomach acid production, but a study suggests that a heartburn patient’s perception of symptoms (not the actual levels of acid) are associated with stress. (Getty Images)
The soothing, numbing effect of menthol relaxes the valve that separates the stomach and esophagus, which can cause stomach acids to drift up the esophagus more easily, aggravating heartburn. (Getty Images)
The association between being overweight and having heartburn seems stronger in women than in men, and explanations vary. Poor diet, excess body fat in the abdomen and chemicals released by body fat are all possible culprits. (Getty Images)
Studies suggest that 30-40 percent of your risk for heartburn is dependent on genetic factors. The hereditary nature could be due to inherited physical traits such as hypersensitivity to stomach acids. (Getty Images)