Can Coffee Cause Heartburn?

can coffee cause heatburn

It’s an age-old question asked by coffee lovers and health enthusiasts alike: can coffee cause heartburn? This article will dive deep into the relationship between your beloved morning brew and that uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest.


Introduction to Heartburn

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, acid reflux, is a common condition that features a burning pain, known as heartburn, in the lower chest area. It happens when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe, causing that all-too-familiar burning sensation. Now, wouldn’t you like to know what triggers this uncomfortable event?

Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn can be triggered by various factors, such as certain foods, stress, or lifestyle habits. Common food triggers include spicy foods, fatty foods, and yes, you guessed it – coffee.

Coffee: A Common Culprit

Coffee may be used to spark people up in the morning, but it also has the potential to wake up an uncomfortable case of heartburn. Caffeine in coffee has been shown to accelerate the formation of stomach acid, which can cause heartburn or make the symptoms of heartburn worse if they already occur.

Does Coffee Really Cause Heartburn

Does Coffee Really Cause Heartburn?

Now, does this mean that every coffee lover is doomed to experience what you might think?

The Science Behind Coffee and Heartburn

Coffee contains certain components like caffeine and certain acids that can stimulate the secretion of stomach acid. Moreover, coffee has been found to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that prevents stomach acid from flowing back up into the esophagus. This, in turn, can lead to the occurrence of heartburn.

Individual Differences and Sensitivity

However, it’s important to note that not everyone who drinks coffee will experience heartburn. This is because individuals have different levels of sensitivity to the effects of coffee. Some people may be more susceptible to heartburn due to a variety of factors including genetics, their overall diet, and their general health status.

Factors That Increase Coffee-Induced Heartburn

Certain risk factors, when combined with drinking coffee, can make heartburn more likely in individuals who have a tendency to feel it. The use of huge volumes of coffee, drinking coffee late in the day, and drinking coffee on an empty stomach are a few examples of these behaviors. In addition, certain varieties of coffee, particularly those that are higher in acidity, may be more likely than others to bring on an episode of heartburn.

How to Prevent Coffee-Induced Heartburn

How to Prevent Coffee-Induced Heartburn

The good news is that there are ways to enjoy your coffee without the unwanted side effects of heartburn.

Modifying Coffee Consumption Habits

Firstly, consider modifying your coffee consumption habits. This could include reducing the amount of coffee you drink, drinking coffee with food rather than on an empty stomach, or switching to a lower-acid coffee.

Alternatives to Traditional Coffee

Investigating possible substitutes for normal coffee is one more choice that could be taken into account. For instance, decaffeinated coffee or coffee alternatives such as coffee made with chicory can deliver the flavor of coffee without the risk of inducing heartburn in the same way that regular coffee can.

When to Seek Medical Attention

When to Seek Medical Attention

While occasional heartburn is common and usually not a cause for concern, frequent or severe heartburn may be a sign of a more serious condition and should not be ignored.

Symptoms Requiring Medical Attention

If you experience symptoms such as severe chest pain, difficulty swallowing, or if your heartburn symptoms persist despite lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Potential Long-Term Effects of Untreated Heartburn

Heartburn that is left untreated for an extended period of time can result in issues such as esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), Barrett’s disease (a condition that can lead to cancer), and even esophageal cancer.


While coffee can indeed cause heartburn in some individuals, it does not necessarily mean that all coffee drinkers will experience this issue. The key is understanding your own body’s response to coffee and making adjustments as necessary. Remember, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about persistent heartburn.


Does everyone who drinks coffee get heartburn?

No, not everyone who drinks coffee will experience heartburn. It depends on individual sensitivity and other lifestyle factors.

Are there any alternatives to coffee that won’t cause heartburn?

Yes, alternatives like decaffeinated coffee or chicory coffee can be considered.

Should I stop drinking coffee if it gives me heartburn?

Not necessarily. You can try modifying your coffee consumption habits first, such as reducing the amount you drink or drinking it with food.

When should I seek medical attention for heartburn?

You should seek medical attention if your heartburn is severe, and frequent, or if it persists despite lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments.

Can long-term untreated heartburn lead to serious complications?

Yes, untreated heartburn can lead to conditions such as esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and even esophageal cancer.

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