Holiday meals are quite close to our heart; we eat all the comfort food guilt-free during holidays. Post the massive lunch and dinner, everyone in the house is either glued to the television screen or just relaxing on the couch. These large meals are a downside of festivities and a sure-fire recipe for indigestion, further leading to acid reflux.
But why make heartburn a part of your yearly tradition??
Too much fatty & spicy food with caffeine and alcohol is a slippery slope leading to indigestion. On holidays you tend to overstuff yourself, and when you tend to recline on the couch, you unknowingly tilt your stomach – which allows the stomach acid to spill into the oesophagus. This results in a slow-burning feeling that works its way upward into the oesophagus causing acid reflux, better known as heartburn.
Let’s understand how you get heartburn
Between the oesophagus and the stomach, there is a little muscle which controls acidity problems. As we get older, this muscle gradually relaxes implicating easier access of stomach acid to the oesophagus. When we are standing, gravity helps keep stomach acid from migrating upward. But when we lie down, and especially when a full stomach is applying internal pressure, stomach acid gets pushed into the oesophagus.
Did you know that those extra pounds around your waistline add to that internal pressure? Many of us are not aware of it! Also, excess fatty food consumption slows your digestion to the extent that heartburn turns into a REALITY!
7 quick-fix tips to control your acid reflux
- Know your body – Be aware of the foods that irritate your stomach. For eg. onions, chocolate, citrus juices, tomatoes, soft drinks, coffee and alcohol.
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime – Avoid eating at least 4 hours before you hit the bed.
- Be selective – Eat what you want, but make it a moderate-sized portion. Do not overeat.
- Savour small bites – Grab smaller bites and chew your food properly.
- Fix one plate and don’t pile it up. Save some room for a small portion of dessert.
- Take a walk after dinner – It’s a good habit as it helps digestion and prevents heartburn.
- Avoid wearing tight pants – Tight pants may constrict your stomach and invite heartburn.
There’s nothing wrong with treating heartburn more aggressively during the holiday season, when large or heavy meals, rich desserts, and increased alcohol consumption are common. Some over-the-counter medicines can effectively treat acid reflux. For best results, take the medication before you sit down to enjoy a large meal.
Over-the-counter medicines for controlling acid reflux and heartburn
Lifestyle changes should be the first choice for managing acidity while some people may require medications to prevent/treat acid reflux and heartburn. Your doctor may suggest certain over-the-counter or prescribed medications that provide relief from acid reflux, such as:
- Antacids that neutralise stomach acids: They provide quick relief but don’t heal an inflamed oesophagus damaged by stomach acid. E.g. Calcium carbonate.
- H2-receptor blockers that reduce acid production: They do not act as quickly as antacids, but provide longer relief and may decrease acid production from the stomach for up to 12 hours. E.g. Famotidine or Cimetidine.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that block acid production and heal the oesophagus: They are stronger acid blockers than H2-receptor blockers and provide time for damaged oesophagal tissue to heal. E.g. Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole and Esomeprazole.
For serious acid reflux, proton pump inhibitors like Omeprazole are the most effective treatment and show the highest published evidence regarding its safety profile. All PPIs show similar efficacy, however, since the past 25 years, Omeprazole has remained a valuable treatment for clinicians owing to its efficacy and safety in acid reflux and heartburn and remains the most used PPI globally with more than 40% prescription share worldwide.
Know more about Omeprazole
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.