10 lifestyle changes to keep heartburn at bay
You’re running late for an important meeting. It’s one of those hectic days, where you skipped breakfast and are yet to have lunch. Stomach is growling causing everyone in the matatu to give you strange looks. You get off the matatu, grab some fries from the kibanda on the way and gobble them down as you now run to make it to the meeting on time.
Fast forward to 20mins into the meeting, your chest is on fire! It literally feels like someone gave you a hot glass of acid and you know too well the rest of your day will not go as planned.
This has happened to you often in the last couple of weeks, and you know it’s finally time to do something about it. You know what though? You’re not alone.
Heartburn or sometimes referred to as acid reflux, occurs when acid, which normally resides in the stomach escapes back up into the oesophagus (food pipe). Because the oesophagus is not as well protected as the stomach the acid can irritate the lining which can cause painful symptoms that can last for a few minutes or a few hours. The symptoms of heartburn (acid reflux) are generally described as a kind of tightening or burning sensation in the back of the throat and chest area. Some people also experience a bitter or acidic taste in the back of the throat and feeling of sickness
It affects a large population but is also common in pregnant women due to hormonal and physical changes happening in their bodies. It is estimated that 73% of people will suffer from both heartburn and indigestion, interchangeably, in their lifetime.
Thankfully there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to keep heartburn at bay:
Keep your weight in check. Obesity can lead to frequent bouts of heartburn and indigestion.
Eat smaller meal portions more frequently. Eating large meals can cause your stomach to produce too much acid. Physically ‘overfilling’ the stomach can create pressure and cause acid to escape.
Take your time eating. Chew every mouthful slowly to give your stomach time to regulate acid levels.
Avoid spicy, acidic and fatty food. It is also recommended to include of fiber-rich foods in your diet
Sit up straight when you eat – do not eat while lying down if you can help it
Avoid tight fitting clothes and belts which can put pressure on your stomach
Don’t eat while on the move or eat just before you sleep
Prop yourself up slightly with pillows while you sleep if you are prone to symptoms at night.
Cut down on alcohol, caffeine and carbonated soft drinks. These tend to increase acidity in your stomach.
Quit Smoking as this encourages acid production and causes the stomach sphincter to relax.
For fast relief from heartburn and indigestion, BONGODAWA has listed some products that you may find useful.
However, if symptoms persist or you are suffering regularly, seek medical attention.
Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine during pregnancy.
This article is an adaptation of the heartburn piece that first appeared on Gaviscon