Skip to main content

Heartburn in Women: Know the Causes & Symptoms

woman eating spicy food feeling sick

As common as heartburn is, it can be wildly misunderstood, especially when it comes to relief. There are many myths about home remedies that are widely accepted but can actually worsen your symptoms!

What’s more, heartburn can present itself differently in women than in men, and for different reasons. Learn about how and why women experience acid reflux, so that you can better manage your symptoms.

Reasons for Heartburn in Women

Heartburn is the burning sensation that occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. The valve that separates your stomach from your esophagus may not close properly, allowing the acid to go where it shouldn’t. This is known as acid reflux, and while it’s extremely common, it may occur in women for different reasons than men.1

How Hormones May Be a Factor

Hormones may be one main reason for Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in women.1 As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels decrease and they may begin to notice the incidence and severity of acid reflux increases.1

Studies have indicated that there is a strong link between symptoms of perimenopausal and menopausal states and increasing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pointing to a connection between estrogen levels and acid reflux in women.Due to the absence of this hormone, older women who have already gone through menopause may experience symptoms of acid reflux with higher frequency.2

Pregnancy Hormones and Heartburn

Hormones also play a role in heartburn during pregnancy.3 When a woman is pregnant, hormones released by the body may make the valve between the esophagus and the stomach relax, so that it doesn’t properly close.3 This lack of closure can allow for stomach acid to leak from the stomach into the esophagus and cause the irritation known as acid reflux.3 As a pregnancy progresses and the baby grows larger, it may press against its mother’s stomach, forcing more stomach acid into the esophagus.3

Heartburn Symptoms in Women

Acid reflux has a roster of common symptoms:4

  • A burning sensation in the throat or upper abdomen
  • Waking up in the middle of the night, especially if you have eaten within two hours of going to bed
  • A sour taste in the mouth

Unfortunately, for many women, symptoms of a heart attack may overlap with those of heartburn.5 Disturbed sleep, indigestion, anxiety, and pressure in the chest are all symptoms of heartburn and heart attack in women.5  If you have persistent chest pain and are not sure it is heartburn, it is important that you seek emergency medical help.4  Talk to your medical provider if you are regularly experiencing heartburn so that you can better understand how to manage your acid reflux symptoms. To block the production of stomach acid, try taking Nexium 24HR Tablets to treat frequent heartburn (heartburn occurring two or more days a week). Use as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn. Nexium 24HR may take 1-4 days for full effect.

By knowing what’s causing your heartburn, you can start taking preventative measures to help improve your symptoms. Find more tips on dealing with heartburn from Nexium 24HR.

Source Citations:

  1. Sex and Gender Differences in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 4/4/2023.
  2. The prevalence and pattern of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in perimenopausal and menopausal women. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 4/4/2023.
  3. How Can I Deal With Heartburn During Pregnancy. Nemours KidsHealth. Accessed 4/4/2023.
  4. Heartburn or heart attack: When to worry. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 4/4/2023.
  5. Heart Attack Symptoms, Are They Different for Men and Women? Memorial Care. Accessed 4/4/2023.