heartburn after running

Heartburn and Acid Reflux After Running – Causes & Prevention

Many people experience heartburn after running, as well as Acid reflux. So, it is not uncommon if you feel a burning sensation in your stomach after a run. However, knowing how to prevent it can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable after a run.

In this article, we dive into symptoms, prevention, and causes of heartburn during exercise. So, continue reading to learn more about:

– What causes heartburn after running?
– Causes of acid reflux during and after running

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn, which is also known as acid reflux, is a burning sensation in the stomach and chest. It is usually caused by issues with the digestive system or the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) being too weak.

Generally over the counter medication or changes in your lifestyle are the only ways to prevent it from happening.

However, many people that experience other forms of health issues mistake it for heartburn. So it is important if you do experience pain or burning in the stomach and chest that you speak to a qualified professional.

Most people that experience heartburn after physical exercise don’t require a visit to a doctor. However, if you are experiencing heartburn more than once a week you may have a more serious form of heartburn. Such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD or GERD). If this is the case you should visit your local doctor.

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Signs and Symptoms of Heartburn

Signs and Symptoms of Heartburn

If you experience heartburn after a run there are some sure signs that you dealing with it. Symptoms you will experience are:

– Burning pain in the chest
– Sour taste in the throat
– Coughing
– Hiccups

For most people, these symptoms will come on during your run or exercise, then increase once you have stopped.

Can Running Cause Heartburn?

Can Running Cause Heartburn?

Most sports or exercise can cause heartburn, and this includes running. Heartburn is caused by the LES muscle (the lower esophageal sphincter) being too weak. It can also be caused by an LES muscle that is too relaxed.

However, the most common cause is food or stomach acid traveling back up into the esophagus, which is often triggered by spicy foods or foods that are highly acidic.

So, if you are struggling with heartburn after running, try cutting down foods and drinks like chocolate, orange juice, coffee, and Indian. Doing so will reduce the chances of experiencing heartburn during or after running.

It is important to know that continuing to run or exercise with heartburn can make heartburn worse. Exercises like running, cycling, weight lifting, and cardio workouts can decrease blood flow to the gastrointestinal area. This then causes gastric fluids to pool, which ends up resulting in inflammation and irritation of the stomach and gastrointestinal area.


Heart Burn After Running – What Causes it?

Many things can cause heartburn after running, some of which are caused by:

– Running on an empty stomach.
– Eating foods that are highly acidic before running.
– Eating foods that are spicing
– Large meals or portion sizes
– Not enough time for food to digest before exercising

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The chances of heartburn or acid reflux increase the closer you train after mealtime.

However, drinking water after running can help reduce acid reflux as well as reduce the high acidity in the stomach.


Acid Reflux after Running – Is it the Same?

Many people that experience heartburn often mistake it for acid reflux. However, acid reflux after running is the same as heartburn.

As we discussed in this article, high-impact and high-intensity workouts can increase the chances of heartburn after exercise.


How to Treat Heartburn – What Should you do?

If you experience regular heartburn it is important to treat it, otherwise, you can damage your esophagus. If you are experiencing heartburn after running regularly, over-the-counter medications or prescriptions can help relieve the symptoms.

Medications that are popular and widely used to treat heartburn are called antacids. Antacids are used to help neutralize stomach acids but unfortunately don’t help to prevent future episodes of heartburn. Some of the most popular antacids on the market include Mylanta, Eno, Quick Eze, and Gaviscon.

Other medications used to treat heartburn include H2-receptor blockers. H2-receptor blockers such as ranitidine and cimetidine tend to provide more long-term pain relief.

However, if you are constantly dealing with heartburn after running, exercising, or just in general day-to-day life, surgery may be required.

Surgery will generally strengthen the oesophageal sphincter. However, this is usually only performed if medications and lifestyle changes haven’t helped.



Generally, irregular heartburn shouldn’t cause any problems with your training. However, if it is reoccurring regularly you should speak to a doctor or qualified professional. They can diagnose the cause and help prevent it from happening in the first place.

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Alternatively, changing what you eat before running and making some small lifestyle changes can help prevent heartburn from happening before, during, and after exercise.

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