No matter how much you love a certain meal, the threat of heartburn afterwards can keep you from indulging in it.
For some people, heartburn can be mild and manageable – but for others, it can be excruciating. So if heartburn is hindering your enjoyment of food, it might be time to think about making some lifestyle changes. First, you need to understand what causes heartburn and how you can handle it.
Causes of heartburn
The food you consume travels down your digestive tract before getting to your stomach, where digestive acids are produced. The valve that separates your oesophagus from your stomach is meant to close, to keep these acids out of your gut. In some people, however, this valve can be faulty; that means that stomach acids creep into your oesophagus, causing acid reflux. Not everyone who suffers from acid reflux will have heartburn, but it is a common symptom.
Anyone can suffer from heartburn, but it is usually more prevalent among people who are overweight, smokers and people who wear tight-fitting clothes. Some people may also find that particular foods – for instance, a cheesy pizza or a spicy curry – bring on heartburn more than others.
Simple heartburn remedies
It’s easy to reach for antacids and Alka-Seltzer when you suffer from heartburn. But you should also consider making lifestyle and diet changes so you can avoid taking these home medicines altogether. Start by keeping track of what you eat, and monitoring when heartburn attacks. It doesn’t have to mean avoiding your favourite foods altogether, but making certain substitutions – for example, eating milder curries rather than spicy ones, or opting for wholegrain pasta and rice – could help.
Changing your drinking habits can also have an effect. Try drinking less alcohol, particularly late at night, and consuming more water, which can help improve the digestive process.
If you tend to suffer from heartburn at night, consider eating dinner earlier in the evening so that your stomach has had plenty of time to digest your food before you go to bed. Some people find that sleeping on a wedge-shaped pillow can help too, as it keeps acids in your stomach and prevents them travelling up your oesophagus. Sleeping on your left-side has been shown to help too, though this might not work for everyone.
Wearing loose-fitting clothes – leggings, instead of fitted jeans, for instance – can also make a difference, as it relieves the pressure on your stomach. And if you’re overweight, losing as little as a kilogram can help relieve heartburn symptoms.
Seeing a doctor
If making these small changes hasn’t improved your heartburn, it might be time to see a doctor. Your GP might prescribe a range of over the counter medicines, like H2 blockers, or prescription drugs like proton pump inhibitors. A few people with very severe heartburn may require surgery, but this course of action is relatively uncommon.
What are your best tips for handling heartburn?
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
Silversurfers Health partner is AXA PPP healthcare. The AXA PPP healthcare's online service, "Ask the Expert", allows you to ask their team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives, counselors and pharmacists about any health topic.
Don't feel alone. You can ask anything about your health, any time for 24 hours a day; everyday. Please get in touch with us now.
ASK THE EXPERT
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor (see all)
- Would you feel comfortable going cashless? - March 20, 2019
- A 3-course Mother’s Day Feast - March 20, 2019
- Tatin of Shallots and Port with Creamy Goat’s Cheese - March 19, 2019
- Understanding your carbon footprint - March 18, 2019
- What name would you choose for Prince Harry and Meghan’s first child? - March 17, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!