How to ease heartburn symptoms

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Almost half of the Irish population experience this unpleasant burning sensation more than once a week. Here’s how to ease heartburn symptoms

If you know the pain and annoyance of heartburn, you’re not alone. Of the Irish population, more than three quarters of adults have suffered from heartburn at least once, and half of Irish adults experience it weekly. This is according to research by Nexium Control, who reported that one in four sufferers would quit alcohol if it alleviated the symptoms. Almost a fifth would cut caffeine if they thought it would help.


 

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to tackle it once and for all. Heartburn isn’t something to suffer with unnecessarily. It can have a significant impact on daily life for many, and yet less than half of sufferers take medication for it or have spoken to a pharmacist about it. Here are the triggers to watch out for and the best ways to ease heartburn symptoms.

Heartburn triggers

Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest, caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat.

Triggers include:

  • Rich or spicy food
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Eating too much
  • Stress

One fifth of heartburn sufferers have experienced more intense and frequent heartburn since the pandemic began. The majority blame Covid-related stress, which seems to affect women more (56% of those surveyed).

How to ease heartburn symptoms

Professionals recommend the following tips to help ease and prevent heartburn symptoms:

  • Sit upright while eating
  • Avoid slouching after eating
  • Allow at least three hours between your last meal and going to bed
  • Wait at least two hours between eating and exercise
  • Reduce intake of triggers like chocolate or alcohol
  • Try a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) product such as one containing Esomeprazole: a medicine to lower stomach acid, taken once daily for up 14 days to help alleviate heartburn symptoms, rather than antacids which work for just 2-3 hours

Did you know? A full stomach can put pressure on the sphincter muscle that separates the stomach and the oesophagus.

For more information and advice on heartburn, speak to your pharmacist or visit HSE.ie.

Read next: How to protect your bone health


 

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