Heartburn, indigestion, reflux, GORD …..whatever the name…. when an attack occurs it’s no fun!
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into your oesophagus. I have seven lifestyle changes, which may eliminate or reduce the frequency of your symptoms:
- Avoid your triggers – Most people have specific foods and beverages that trigger heartburn. Common offenders are fried or fatty foods, chocolate, mint, alcohol, coffee, carbonated drinks, onions, tomato-based and spicy foods, and citrus foods and juices.
- Lose excess weight – Excess kilo’s but pressure on your abdomen, which crowds your stomach and can cause acid backup.
- Avoid tightness at your waist – Reduce pressure on your abdomen by loosening your belt, or by not wearing tight undergarments.
- Eat smaller meals – Doing so reduces pressure from the stomach on the lower oesophageal sphincter (that’s the valve which keeps stomach contents “in house”) and makes it less likely stomach acid will escape into your oesophagus.
- Don’t lie down after a meal – Wait two or three hours after a meal before you lie down. If you do nap, try doing so in a more upright reclining chair.
- Don‘t use tobacco – Tobacco interferes with the function of the lower oesophageal sphincter.
- Raise the head of your bed – If you’re bothered by heartburn during the night (and it’s rather common at about 2am), elevate the head of your bed six to eight inches using blocks under the legs of your bed.
If these lifestyle changes don’t relieve your symptoms, or if you have heartburn more than twice a week, consider a raft antacid for a few days. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to chat to your doctor.