A burning stomach is a common issue in up to 20% of the population every week. While not always life-threatening, it often comes with significant healthcare costs and can substantially impact your quality of life.
There are multiple causes of a burning stomach. This article will dive into the most common causes and some remedies to help give relief.
What Causes Stomach Burning?
Stomach burning can be caused by medical conditions, food, medications, or even without any known cause at all. In fact, almost 80% of those who experience a burning stomach can't identify a cause.
Some of the most common offenders for those who can find a cause are:
Acid Reflux. Known medically as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux is when stomach acid flows into your esophagus. It can cause burning in your throat, heart, or stomach. Other symptoms can also include difficulty swallowing and chronic coughing.
Certain foods and drinks can worsen GERD, including:
- Spicy foods
- Tomato-based foods
- Fatty and fried foods
Indigestion. Otherwise known as dyspepsia, indigestion is a common cause of stomach burning. Other symptoms of indigestion include bloating, stomach pain after meals, feeling overly full, and excessive belching. While there is no apparent cause, there are certain risk factors for indigestion, including being female, smoking, experiencing anxiety or depression, using over-the-counter pain relievers, or having a history of childhood sexual or physical abuse.
Gastritis. Gastritis is another common cause of stomach burning, which is a symptom of stomach lining inflammation. When the stomach lining is damaged or weakened, gastritis develops. It can happen gradually or suddenly; the most common cause is the bacteria H. pylori.
Ulcers. Peptic ulcers are open sores along the stomach lining and upper portion of the small intestine. Symptoms of this condition include bloating, belching, intolerance to certain foods, nausea, heartburn, and feeling full. When it is severe, symptoms can also include trouble breathing, unexplained weight loss, vomiting blood, appetite changes, or dark blood in the stool. Peptic ulcers are typically caused by an H. pylori infection, as well as the regular use of certain medications, including some pain relievers, steroids, low-dose aspirin, anticoagulants, and some SSRI medications.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is a disorder that causes abdominal pain and discomfort, which sometimes manifests as a burning stomach. Other symptoms include gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, nausea, and mucus in stool. The cause isn't known, but it impacts close to 45 million people in the United States.
Remedies for Stomach Burning
Depending on the condition, there are multiple options to treat a burning stomach:
- Avoid trigger foods
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Eat smaller meals
- Avoid smoking
- Keep the head elevated with extra pillows at night
- Reduce your stress
- Avoid late-night meals before bed
While a single episode of a burning stomach is not concerning, you may need to seek medical advice if your stomach burning lasts for an extended amount of time or keeps recurring. Also, consult a doctor if you have other concerning symptoms, such as loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, or bloody stool.
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