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Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion is a feeling of burning in the central chest just behind the sternum or upper central abdomen, caused by stomach acid refluxing back into the oesophagus. The burning can worsen or can be brought on by lying flat or on the right side.


Typical features of heartburn include:

  • Starts as a burning sensation in the upper abdomen and moves up into the chest

  • Usually occurs after eating or while lying down or bending over

  • May awaken you from sleep, especially if you have eaten within two hours of going to bed

  • Is usually relieved by antacids


Risk factors

Some common foods that we eat and drink, stimulate increased stomach acid secretion setting the stage for heartburn. Over-the-counter medications also may precipitate heartburn.


Examples of these irritants include:

  • alcohol,

  • caffeine,

  • aspirin (Bayer, etc.),

  • ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, etc.),

  • naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve),

  • peppermint,

  • spicy foods


The first step, as it is so often, is basic lifestyle changes.


Lifestyle changes include:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

  • Eat high-protein, low-fat meals.

  • Avoid lying down after a meal. Wait at least three hours.

  • Avoid late meals.

  • Avoid alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, and caffeine.

  • Stop smoking.



In most cases you will not need to see a health-care professional, except if the symptoms are frequent or severe.


If heartburn is severe or the pain is accompanied with additional symptoms, you will need to see a doctor to distinguish these symptoms from more serious medical conditions such as a heart attack.



Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated July 05, 2017.

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