Can Multivitamins Worsen Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux -- also known as gastroesophageal reflux, acid indigestion or heartburn -- affects more than 60 million people in the United States, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. Although multivitamins aren't a common trigger, they can aggravate the problem.

A man is experiencing acid reflux.
Credit: nebari/iStock/Getty Images

Root Cause of Acid Reflux

When the valvelike muscle between your esophagus and your stomach becomes weak or relaxed, the contents of your stomach can rise back up into your esophagus and cause acid reflux. Recurrent acid reflux may be brought on by pregnancy, a hiatal hernia, obesity, smoking cigarettes or taking certain medications.

Potential Irritant

Anything that aggravates your esophagus or the muscle that separates it from your stomach can trigger acid reflux. Multivitamins that are coarse or awkwardly shaped may cause irritation as they go down, while large pills may cause irritation as they pass into your stomach. Smaller, smoother pills -- or liquid vitamins -- are often better tolerated.

Bottom Line

Although sedatives, painkillers, antidepressants, antihistamines and certain asthma medications are known to aggravate acid reflux, multivitamins aren't generally considered problematic. If you find that your acid reflux routinely worsens after taking multivitamins -- even those that are easy to swallow -- then they just may be poorly tolerated by your digestive system.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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