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Alcohol Can Trigger Heartburn

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Updated July 06, 2013

Alcohol can have several unpleasant affects on heartburn sufferers, so it is best to avoid alcohol if you suffer from acid reflux. There are a few tips that may make it possible for you to enjoy alcoholic beverages -- if consumed in moderation.

Why Alcohol Makes Heartburn Worse

Alcohol consumption should be reduced or avoided because:
  • Alcohol increases the production of stomach acid.
  • Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach contents to reflux back up into the esophagus.
  • When the LES relaxes, it causes swallowing contractions to become erratic.
  • Alcohol makes the esophagus more sensitive to stomach acid.
  • Alcohol can lead to the development of peptic ulcers and interfere with the healing of ulcers already present.

If You'd Still Like the Occasional Alcoholic Beverage...

To minimize alcohol's affect on your digestive system:
  • Dilute alcoholic beverages with water or club soda.
  • Drink moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages -- the suggested amounts are 1 to 2 mixed drinks, 12 to 16 ounces of wine, or 2 to 3 beers.
  • When having wine, drink white wine instead of red.
  • Choose non-alcoholic beer or wine.
  • Keep track of which alcoholic drinks aggravate your heartburn, and avoid them as much as possible.

You may also want to consider the following articles:

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Updated: 12/05/05

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