Fats and fatty foods are common triggers of heartburn as they relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) valve between the stomach and the esophagus, allowing the acid in the stomach to travel upward. This relaxation of the LES can lead to acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Your body digests fat more slowly than it digests proteins and carbohydrates, and because high-fat foods sit around longer, your stomach produces more acid, irritating your digestive system. This full stomach puts pressure on the LES, causing it to relax and allow acid to travel up the esophagus.
Choosing healthier foods lower in fat may help reduce your symptoms, along with over-the-counter medications. If your symptoms persist, you should see a doctor who may prescribe stronger medications like PPIs, also known as proton pump inhibitors. A gastroenterologist can also perform an upper endoscopy which may help determine the cause of your symptoms.