Header Graphic


  What Causes Heartburn in Women?

Heartburn or acid reflux is when you feel a burning sensation from your lower chest area up to your throat. This is caused by the backflow of acid or gastric juices from the stomach to the esophagus. Both men and women experience this problem though some are lucky enough to avoid it during their lifetime.

what causes heartburn in womenThere are plenty of studies regarding this phenomenon but it mainly boils down to lifestyle than genetics as to the cause of heartburn or acid reflux; though there are certain exceptions that make it more common in women than men.


Heartburn or acid reflux is never gender specific. Whether you are male or female, acid reflux symptoms will appear depending on the factors that causes it. If you check out the factors that attributes to heartburns then you would notice that all of them is similar in both genders, except for pregnancy which only happens in women.

Pregnancy is one of the heartburn causes in women. Even if they didn’t experience or suffer from this problem before their pregnancy, there is a high possibility that they will go through it afterwards.

One of the causes of heartburn in pregnant women is the hormone called progesterone. Progesterone or P4 is a hormone common produced in women who are in their menstrual cycle or gestation (pregnancy) period. One of the effects of progesterone is the loosening of smooth muscles in one’s digestive system. This weakens or reduces the effectiveness of the esophageal sphincter (LES) that acts as a valve to stop the backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus, thus, resulting to heartburn.

Also, the hormone slows a pregnant woman’s digestive rate. This results in slow digestion of solids. The longer the solid stays in the stomach, the more acid is produced. With the addition of a weakened LES, backflow is imminent.

Another cause of heartburn in pregnant women is the size of the fetus. As the unborn child grows, the organs in the stomach cavity are pushed upwards, tightening around the stomach causing it to overpower the esophageal sphincter (LES), which again results to heartburn.

Unlike non-pregnant acid reflux patients, pregnant women can alleviate their heartburns through various home remedies, like ginger tea, minimizing food intake, or improving their sleeping posture while carrying their child in their stomach. It is also good news that heartburns tend to disappear after giving birth.

Myth: Stress Tolerance?

If you check out the various causes of heartburn or acid reflux, we can safely say that both genders are similar, except for pregnancy of course. However, there is a myth in medical science that a woman’s stress tolerance is also a factor that causes heartburn more than men.

Women are said to have lower stress tolerance than men, making it possible for them to go into habits that might cause acid reflux symptoms to occur. There are plenty of methods to get rid of stress, but unhealthy ones that cause heartburn are more addictive to some, like drinking alcoholic beverages, drinking coffee as stress relief, smoking, or eating disorders; the latter being more common in women than men, though this theory may vary depending on a person’s experience and lifestyle.

Despite the possibilities of this happening, especially in women’s role in today’s modern lifestyle, there is no definite fact that supports this theory.

Taking Care of the Problem

Women who suffer from GERD symptoms might want to take care of the problem as early as possible before it escalates into something more serious. Pregnant women need to stay away from medications, like antacids, since it can harm the baby. It is advisable to stick to home remedies to alleviate the problem. It is also a good idea to review your lifestyle to see if you need to change it in order to get rid of your heartburn problem.