WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEARTBURN?
A burning pain in the chest, just behind your breastbone, that usually occurs after eating or in the evening
Pain that worsens when lying down or bending over
Bitter or acidic taste in the mouth
For a list of warning symptoms that require you to see a doctor, please click here.
WHAT CAUSES HEARTBURN?
If you’ve experienced heartburn, you know how painful and
disruptive it can be, but why does it happen?
Acid is needed in the stomach to help with digestion, but if it moves up out of the stomach into the oesophagus, that’s when it can cause heartburn. Your oesophagus is the tube that food travels through on its way from your mouth to your stomach.
Normally when you swallow, a band of muscle around the bottom of your oesophagus (called the lower oesophageal sphincter) acts like a valve, relaxing to allow food and liquid to travel into your stomach, but not back up again.
If this ‘valve’ relaxes when it shouldn’t or is weak, acidic stomach contents can travel back up into your oesophagus and cause heartburn.
WHAT TRIGGERS HEARTBURN?
There are certain ‘triggers’ you can avoid that might bring on your heartburn or make it worse.
Spicy, rich or fatty food, chocolate and peppermint can trigger heartburn. Eating a large meal can also make it worse.
Alcohol, fizzy drinks, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can trigger heartburn.
Smoking can trigger heartburn by relaxing the muscles of the oesophagus.
Hormone changes and increased pressure on your stomach during pregnancy can cause heartburn.
Being overweight can put more pressure on your stomach and weaken the oesophagus muscles.
Exercising too soon before, or after, eating can trigger heartburn.
TIPS FOR RELIEVING HEARTBURN
Making simple changes to your daily routine may help relieve your heartburn, but if that’s not enough, Zanzole 24HR may help manage frequent heartburn symptoms with just one tablet per day.
Think about food and meal times
- Try eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoid any foods you have identified as being a trigger for your heartburn.
- Aim to eat your last meal 2-3 hours before bedtime, so that there’s time for your stomach to empty before you lie down at night.
- Avoid eating before exercise and don’t exercise immediately after meals. Wait a couple of hours to allow your stomach to start emptying.
- Avoid fatty or fried foods at dinner as they tend to take longer to break down in the stomach.
- If spicy foods are a trigger for your heartburn, use spices in small amounts or think about other ways to flavour meals, such as using fresh or dried herbs.
Sleep in comfort
- Wear loose-fitting, comfortable pyjamas to bed and avoid night-wear that is restrictive.
- Try changing sleeping positions. Sleeping on your left side may ease the discomfort of heartburn.
- Sleeping with your upper body elevated may help, so raise the head of your bed if possible – try using a foam wedge to keep your body slightly upright from the waist up while you sleep.