Have you ever been half way through enjoying a delicious meal only to feel that dreaded burning sensation rising in your chest?
Heartburn or indigestion can cause major discomfort and isn’t always easy to fix.
Usually when consuming food, the oesophagus relaxes to let food in, then contracts to stop stomach acid from rising up. However, heartburn is triggered when the oesophagus either relaxes at the wrong moment or is too weak, which then causes the acids to enter your oesophagus.
Prevention is extremely important if you experience constant heartburn. Speaking to your doctor is always helpful for recommendations for over the counter medications such as anti-acids, or those only available on prescription, that can be taken to fight reflux.
If you only occasionally experience indigestion, though, there are a few tricks that can be used as soon as the feeling begins that will immediately lessen the pain.
1. Fix your posture
Hunching over or lying down when you begin to feel pain will only worsen the situation. Instead, try opening your chest by pulling your shoulders back and down. This will stop the compression of organs and make it easier for acids to return to the stomach. Also, remember to avoid lying down immediately after a meal.
2. Chew gum
Chewing sugar-free gum is a cheap and easy way to neutralise stomach acids and sooth that burning sensation. Chewing gum produces extra salvia, which will help to wash out any unwanted acids from the oesophagus.
3. Loosen tight clothing
When you begin to feel the burn, it helps to undo any tight buttons or belts to stop compression on your stomach. Much like fixing your posture, this will open up pathways and stop congestion.
4. Change the way you sleep
If you are someone who is affected by heartburn when you are sleeping or lying down, it can be difficult to get to any of these options to work. A way to ease the pain, though, is to elevate your body from the waist up. Avoid raising just your head with an extra pillow as this won’t help. Instead, sit up for a few minutes so gravity will help bring the acids back down, or lie with your head and upper body propped up with pillows.
5. Baking soda or bicarb
If you don’t have any medicated anti-acids on hand to counteract the pain, try making your own. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and sip on it over a period of time. Make sure you drink slowly as ingesting anything too quickly will only encourage the burning feeling.