Heartburn under the spotlight


What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is that feeling of discomfort you get in your oesophagus (the tube connecting your mouth to your stomach), especially after eating food or drinking.  Our stomach combines food, acids, and enzymes together to digest what you eat and drink, and sometimes those acid and digestive juices rise back up into the oesophagus.  This can cause a burning sensation or a bitter or sour taste in your mouth.

Causes of Heartburn

The stomach has protective cells that prevent the acid and digestive juices from causing inflammation and any discomfort.  Our oesophagus however doesn’t have the same protective cells, and when acid and digestive juices rise up into the oesophagus, you then can get that burning sensation or bitter taste in your mouth.  Heartburn can also occur when the stomach produces a lot of acid, such as in times when you are stressed or anxious.

Common Triggers for Heartburn

Some people find they experience heartburn after eating certain foods or dinks.  Here are some common triggers of heartburn:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Fatty or spicy food
  • Citrus foods

Other things that might increase your risk of heartburn include:

  • Eating large meals
  • Being overweight
  • Taking certain medications (ensure you check with your doctor)
  • Being pregnant
  • Exercising too soon after eating
  • Smoking

Prevention and Treatment

There are some simple changes you can make to prevent, or at least manage, the onset of heartburn.  This includes:

  • Avoiding foods or drinks you know trigger heartburn
  • Having smaller more frequent meals rather than large meals
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding meals late in the evening
  • Avoiding lying down within 2-3 hours after a meal
  • Stop smoking
  • Elevating the head of your bed so that you are raised from the waist up

Need Further Help?

Chemistworks is committed to the ongoing good health and wellbeing of its customers.  If you would like advice about managing heartburn, come and talk to one our friendly staff at a store near you.