Most of us will experience heartburn occasionally, but for some people it is a regular occurrence and can affect their quality of life. Sound familiar? Then you know how unpleasant heartburn can be: uncomfortable and disruptive, it can even affect your state of mind if it’s impacting your social life and you’re missing all the fun.
Heartburn is the sensation of burning in the chest that happens when the stomach’s digestive acid leaks up from the stomach1 and moves up into the oesophagus (food pipe). This is also known as ‘reflux’. We’ve taken a closer look at some of the common causes of heartburn and reflux and some of the ways you can take control to find relief.
Some of the more common causes of heartburn2 include:
Big or heavy meals
Spicy or fatty foods
Coffee or cola drinks
You can take control
While you can’t always predict what will set off an episode of heartburn, there are some tried and true ways to reduce the likelihood of an attack3 and manage it if it does take hold.
1. Check your portion sizes
Eating smaller portions reduces the load on your stomach so it doesn’t have to work as hard to digest your food. This might mean you need to eat smaller amounts more frequently throughout the day.
2. Know what sets it off
If you know your triggers are, say, soft drinks and oranges, then try to avoid them if you can. If you’re not sure what’s bringing it on, try keeping a food diary (use the notes app in your phone). This way you can keep track of the things that set off an episode of heartburn, or can seem to make it worse, and avoid them in the future.
3. Take an over-the-counter medication
If you feel it’s time to take control of your heartburn and acid reflux, it’s reassuring to know you can do something about it. Zanzole 24HR4 is an over-the-counter tablet that gives lasting relief from frequent heartburn and acid reflux. Zanzole 24HR is a proton pump inhibitor medication, meaning it inhibits the production of acid at the source, to provide continuous relief for up to 24 hours. Available in pharmacies.
4. Let your dinner go down
This sounds like something your mum said when you were a kid and wanted to go swimming, but the same applies to avoiding the likelihood of a heartburn and acid reflux attack or episode. Try not to lie down within three hours of eating, as your stomach needs time to start the digestion process and move food along into your intestines. If you are susceptible to acid reflux, lying down horizontally can cause some of the acid in your stomach to push upwards into your oesophagus and create the burning sensation that can be heartburn. Some people find it beneficial to sleep on a slight incline with their head raised to keep reflux at bay.
5. Avoid tight clothing
If you ever needed an excuse to embrace stretchy pants, here it is. Tight-fitting clothing around your abdomen can squeeze your stomach and force acid to escape into the oesophagus, causing heartburn. So, if there’s a family feast or dinner with friends on the horizon, it’s probably a good idea to give your tight pants the night off.
6. Stop smoking
Speaking of excuses, here’s just one more reason why you should give up the smokes once and for all. Cigarette smoke irritates the oesophagus and can increase the incidence of heartburn in individuals who are susceptible to acid reflux and heartburn. If you need a hand with quitting, you can discuss ways to stop smoking with your health professional, such as nicotine replacement therapies, or call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 78 48).
When it comes to managing heartburn and acid reflux, many people are able to control their symptoms with just a few lifestyle changes. Those who do need medicines usually find they ease their symptoms. So, don’t miss out on the good times in life, take control of your heartburn and acid reflux with Zanzole 24HR and get back to enjoying life on your terms.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional.
1. GORD (Reflux) Healthdirect. Available at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gord-reflux Accessed February 2020.
2. GORD (Treatments) Healthdirect. Available at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gord-treatments Accessed February 2020
3. Heartburn and reflux. Choosing Wisely. Available at http://www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers/heartburn-and-reflux
4. Zanzole 24HR tablets. Consumer Medicine Information. February 2020.