Conquering heartburn and acid reflux

Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat more commonly known as acid reflux. If it keeps happening regularly, it’s called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).

The main symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • heartburn – a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
  • an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid

You may also experience the following symptoms:

  • a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
  • a hoarse voice
  • bad breath
  • bloating and feeling sick

Usually, your symptoms are worse after eating or when lying down.

Lots of people get heartburn from time to time, there’s often no obvious reason why. However, it can be caused or enhanced by:

  • certain food and drink – such as coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • pregnancy
  • stress and anxiety
  • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers (like ibuprofen)
  • a hiatus hernia – when part of your stomach moves up into your chest

There are simple lifestyle changes that can help reduce heartburn and acid reflux. Some suggestions are listed below:

  • eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • raise 1 end of your bed 10 to 20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress – your chest and head should be above the level of your waist, so stomach acid does not travel up towards your throat
  • try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • try to find ways to relax

Don’t hessite to contact your GP if…

  • lifestyle changes and pharmacy medicines are not helping
  • you have heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more
  • you have other symptoms, like food getting stuck in your throat, frequently being sick or losing weight for no reason

A GP can provide stronger treatments and help rule out any more serious causes of your symptoms.

At Pall Mall you can book in for a private GP appointment on the same or the next day, meaning there’s no anxious wait to see a doctor. To find out more and book an appointment visit our website or call us on 0161 394 0319.

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