Heartburn or sometimes referred to as acid reflux, is a common condition that affects many people. It occurs when acid, which normally resides in the stomach escapes back up into the esophagus (food pipe). The esophagus is not as well protected, therefore the acid from the stomach can irritate the lining which can cause painful symptoms that can last for a few minutes or a few hours.
- Eating large meals can cause your stomach to produce too much acid. Physically 'overfilling' the stomach can also create pressure and cause acid to escape.
- Eating irregularly or too quickly can mean that acid levels in the stomach don't have time to regulate.
- Eating on the run or just before bedtime can make it easier for acid to escape back up into the esophagus (food pipe).
- Fatty foods tend to stay in your stomach longer because fats are slower to digest.
- Foods such as chocolate and mint may have a relaxant effect on the sphincter (ring of muscle) at the entrance to the stomach enabling acid to escape back up.
- Spicy foods, onions and tomato products.
- Caffeinated drinks and alcohol tend to increase acidity in your stomach.
- Very hot drinks and citrus juices may also be triggers.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy.
- The baby physically putting pressure on the woman's digestive tract.
- Find out more.
Other known triggers include
- Some medicines, such as those for heart problems, asthma and high blood pressure.
- Being overweight.
- Wearing tight clothes which can put pressure on your stomach.
- Smoking can encourage acid production and cause the sphincter to relax.
Did you know?
- 73% of people will suffer from both heartburn and indigestion interchangeably
- 1 in 5 people suffering from heartburn may experience symptoms every week.