It’s the season for lots of food, drinks, and celebrating with friends and family. We can get a little carried away and consume more than we probably should. Then we start to feel that burning sensation in our chest along with a bitter taste in our throats. You guessed it, HEARTBURN.
Let’s not let heartburn get in the way of the festivities.
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn is commonly described as a burning sensation in our chests. This is usually accompanied by a bitter taste in your mouth or throat. These symptoms can worsen after a large meal or when lying down. You can generally treat these symptoms at home. If heartburn becomes frequent it can make it difficult to eat or swallow. This could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
Typically, when the contents from your stomach come back up into your oesophagus it causes heartburn. Your oesophagus carries liquids and foods from your mouth to your stomach. There is a ring of muscles that connects your oesophagus to your stomach. It is referred to as the cardiac or lower oesophageal sphincter. When sphincter is working correctly it should be closing when food leaves the oesophagus and enters your stomach.
When the lower oesophageal sphincter becomes weakened, this can lead to your stomach’s contents leaking back into your oesophagus. Stomach acids can irritate the oesophagus and cause the symptoms of heartburn.
Heartburn is common during pregnancy due to a hormone called progesterone which can cause your sphincter to relax. Other lifestyle choices can worsen heartburn symptoms like smoking, being overweight, consuming caffeine, eating spicy foods, or lying down straight after eating. Some medicines can worsen heartburn symptoms like aspirin or ibuprofen.
When should you seek professional help about heartburn?
It is relatively normal experience heartburn on the odd occasion. However, if you experience heartburn more than twice a week or it doesn’t improve with treatment it is time to seek professional help. Heartburn can occur alongside other gastrointestinal conditions like ulcers.
Heartburn is NOT associated with a heart attack. Many people that have heartburn mistaken having a heart attack with the symptoms of heartburn as they can be similar. If you’re having a heart attack check if you have the follow:
- Severe chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Jaw pain
- Arm pain
The most common treatment for heartburn is antacids. A H2 receptor antagonists to reduce your stomach’s acid production. Antacids can have a side effect of constipation or have a laxative effect. Be sure to use as directed on the packaging. Don’t want to have any back door mishaps on top of dealing with heartburn. That will put a damper on the holiday festivities.
Gaviscon Dual Action Chewable 16 Tablets
Nexium 24HR 20mg 7 Tablets
Fun Fact: Peppermint may soothe an upset stomach, but can also make your heartburn worse. It’s a bit of a Catch-22.