Heartburn: Triggers, Symptoms and Treatments

What is heartburn?

What does it feel like, what brings it on, and how can you ease the feeling of discomfort?

This is Gaviscon’s guide to understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment of heartburn.

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that usually occurs after you’ve eaten certain types of food, along with other reasons. It’s a common problem created by acid reflux, when some of your stomach contents are forced back into the oesophagus (the tube that carries food down from your mouth).

FAST FACT: 68% OF PEOPLE SUFFER BOTH HEARTBURN AND INDIGESTION.*

What’s causing your heartburn?

There are often no obvious causes, but it can be brought on by:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pregnancy
  • Fatty or spicy food such as curry or chocolate
  • Drinks such as coffee or alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking

FAST FACT: HEARTBURN IS MOST COMMON IN THE AFTERNOON OR AFTER DINNER.*

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

Think you might have heartburn? What should you look out for?

Common heartburn symptoms are:

  • Uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest - The discomfort tends to start from the lowest part of your chest, and eventually rises upwards.
  • Throat pain – Unpleasant sensation in your throat along with an unpalatable taste in your mouth.
  • Difficulty in swallowing – Often accompanied by pain
  • Throat irritation - Frequent throat clearing, coughing and choking

Still have questions? If so, or if you notice yours are getting worse, please speak to your GP or a pharmacist.

FAST FACT: IT’S COMMON FOR SYMPTOMS TO BE WORSE AT NIGHT OR WHEN YOU LIE DOWN.

How can I treat heartburn?

Looking for effective ways to help prevent and treat this common condition?

There are several steps your doctor might recommend to help ease your symptoms:

  • Be drink aware - Cut down on your tea, coffee, sugary drinks and alcohol
  • Change sleeping position – Prop your head and shoulders up in bed to help keep stomach acid down while you sleep
  • Avoid food before bedtime - Stop eating 3-4 hours before you try to get to sleep
  • Cut down on certain foods - Reduce rich, spicy or fatty foods in your diet
  • Stop smoking – Aside from easing heartburn, this has many other health benefits
  • Drink more water – Increase your water intake throughout the day
  • Weight control - Lose excess weight and try to do more exercise

FAST FACT: WHEN SUFFERING FROM THE SYMPTOMS OF HEARTBURN, 60% OF PEOPLE JUST WANT TO FEEL NORMAL AGAIN.*

Do you know how Gaviscon can help?

Gaviscon Double Action gets to work instantly, soothing in just 3 minutes, and lasting for up to 4 hours. It works in two ways: 

  • Creates a barrier – Gaviscon forms a barrier or raft on top of your stomach contents in seconds. This is because it contains an alginate.
  • Contains antacid  – This can effectively neutralise stomach acids for indigestion and heartburn relief. You take antacids when you experience symptoms, or when they start to occur, such as after meals or just before bedtime.

Alongside lifestyle changes, your pharmacist may recommend taking an antacid and/or alginate. 

FAST FACT: THE MOST COMMON SECONDARY SYMPTOM TO HEARTBURN IS BELCHING

 

*Based on survey of 13,831 Heartburn and Indigestion Sufferers from 5 Countries