Can Heartburn Cause Vomiting?

Heartburn is a problem for many people, both men and women of all age groups. The main cause of heartburn is acid reflux, or a condition in which stomach acids, and the food and liquid contents of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. It can lead to a number of symptoms, including vomiting in some cases.

There are a number of reasons heartburn can cause vomiting. Underlying medical conditions, lifestyle choices and even pregnancy can be at fault for heartburn.

Underlying Medical Reasons

Heartburn can result from a range of medical conditions, though the most common causes are hiatal hernia, GERD, and ulcers.  Gastroestophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is by far the most prominent of underlying medical conditions that has heartburn as a symptom; however, gastric or peptic ulcers and hiatal hernias should be considered as potential causes of heartburn related vomiting.

Lifestyle Choices

Heartburn can cause vomiting due to the foods and beverages we eat, our dining habits, sleep schedule and other lifestyle factors.

Eating too quickly and consuming large amounts of food in a single meal can lead to heartburn. Pausing between bites and more slowly chewing food may help lessen heartburn issues. Eating smaller meals is certainly of benefit in treating persistent heartburn symptoms as well.

Spicy foods and those that are high in acid content are often at fault for heartburn and may be the reason heartburn causes vomiting in some individuals. Drinking a lot of soda and alcohol are also common causes of heartburn symptoms.
Read more about foods that trigger heartburn.

Eating too near to bedtime or eating a large meal just before lying down for a nap is one of the most common reasons people experience issues with acid reflux. You must give your body time to digest foods before lying down. Gravity helps keep food in your stomach while you’re sitting or standing. If insufficient time has been given for digestion then lying down will result in food or stomach acid to make its way back into the esophagus.

Other factors, like smoking, drinking out of a straw, or having loose dentures can also contribute to heartburn. All of these can lead to swallowing air into the stomach, which in turn can lead to acid reflux.


Pregnancy is also a common reason heartburn can cause vomiting. As the pregnancy progresses and the uterus expands, the baby can push on the diaphragm, increasing the likelihood of acid reflux. As stomach contents backup into the esophagus and irritate the nerves in the area, vomiting can result in order to relieve pressure in the region. Read more about heartburn in pregnancy.


Heartburn is just one symptom that typically comes with acid reflux. Coughing, burping, belching, bad breath, vomiting, sore throat and irritated sinuses are also symptoms of acid reflux. If there is an underlying medical condition that is the reason heartburn causes vomiting, then you may experience additional symptoms related to the hernia, ulcers or other problem that is truly at fault for the heartburn as well.


When heartburn is bad enough to cause vomiting, then you definitely need to seek medical treatment. Diagnostic tests may be required or the physician may simply prescribe a medication to sooth irritation or cut down on the stomach’s production of acid.