SATURDAY, December 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Like Mr. Grinch, heartburn can crush your vacation, but there are easy ways to avoid it.
“Heartburn is caused by the acidic contents of the stomach entering the esophagus, or esophagus, which is much less resistant to acid,” said Dr. James East, gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London. “This causes irritation and damage to the lining of the esophagus, literally a burn, which causes pain.”
Some vacation favorites can be to blame. Eating large, fatty, fatty, or spicy meals can trigger heartburn, as can onions, citrus fruits, tomato-based foods, and even chocolate and peppermint. Alcohol, carbonated drinks, and caffeine can also cause heartburn.
Chronic heartburn is called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
So how can you avoid it while still enjoying your holiday season?
Taking antacids or even antacids before you eat can reduce heartburn symptoms, East said. But, he warned, don’t use them to abuse.
While these drugs reduce acidity, they don’t stop the regurgitation that can accompany reflux, so overeating can still lead to uncomfortable symptoms, East said.
“Moderation in food and alcohol, and taking advantage of the range of dishes available from your host is a better strategy than additional medication,” he said in a press release from the Mayo Clinic.
Reducing anxiety and stress can also help.
“Being stressed or anxious can lead to hypersensitivity of the gut nerves when they trigger pain signals, such as cramping or bloating, at stimulation levels much lower than would normally be needed,” East noted.
Techniques such as mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, or hypnotherapy can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Physical positioning also plays a role in heartburn.
“Classic reflux triggers include eating a big, fatty meal at the end of the day, with alcohol, then lying flat,” East said.
To avoid heartburn, do the opposite, he suggested. Eat your main meal in the middle of the day, don’t eat within three hours of bedtime, avoid fatty foods, moderate your alcohol intake, and consider raising the head of your bed.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more information on heartburn.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, press release, December 13, 2021