How to get a grip on heartburn

The ageing process has its positives and negatives: on one side, you know so much more than you knew a decade ago worry less about other’s opinions. On the other side, you have to deal with more health-related challenges, with heartburn as one of the most common complaints.

We know that it’s not a glamorous topic, but there’s good news: with diet and lifestyle changes, you can get control of heartburn.

What makes heartburn worse

  1. High-acid foods. Any food that contains a lot of acid, like oranges and lemons, causes the acid level in your stomach to increase. If you have too much, that acid will rise into your oesophagus (or throat) causing a burning and uncomfortable pain in your chest. There are other foods that can cause heartburn:
  • Spicy food
  • Fatty food/ Fried food
  • Too much dairy
  • Too much alcohol
  1. How you eat. You need to look at what and how much you eat! Overeating is one of the main causes of heartburn and if it happens to you quite often, you’d better avoid a second helping – portion control is very important! You can make a big difference by using smaller plates.

What makes heartburn better

  1. Buy an antacid

An antacid is the best and most effective thing you can take to beat heartburn. Most antacids work immediately, so you’ll feel better in no time. They work by balancing out the acid that is building up in your oesophagus. Ask your pharmacist for an over-the-counter antacid and store it in your bathroom cabinet.

  1. Avoid food that triggers your heartburn
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Our second tip requires a little bit of time, research and patience. Sometimes heartburn is triggered by one food in particular.

For one of our Hello Doctor members, coffee is his only cause of heartburn. To figure out what’s your heartburn trigger, all you need to do is write down what you eat and when you eat it. If you start feeling heartburn, take a look at your diary and see what the last thing you ate was. Once you’ve found it, try to avoid it as best as possible.

 The confusion between heartburn and GERD

Google “heartburn” and you’ll find your screen filled with articles mentioning a strange thing called GERD. This stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. So, are they the same thing? Heartburn is a symptom of GERD, which is a more complex condition, which could require other medications or surgery. Chat to one of our doctors if you have regular heartburn, or if you’re worried that you may have GERD.