Heartburn problems affect up to 20% or more of adults on a regular basis.1,2 So even though you might think other people won’t understand what you’re going through, you’re not alone.

The most common problems associated with heartburn are acidity and acid reflux.1,2 Heartburn is that uncomfortable, burning feeling you have in the centre of your chest, especially after eating a large meal. Acid reflux occurs when you taste regurgitated food or sour, bitter liquid at the back of your mouth or throat.

Heartburn symptoms can be very unpleasant and can strike at the most inconvenient of times, but they can usually be managed quickly and simply.1

Causes and risks for heartburn problems

While a weak or abnormally relaxed oesophageal sphincter is the main cause of heartburn, we don’t always know why it becomes weakened or relaxed.1

When we eat a large meal, our sphincter muscles could stretch or become weakened. Similarly, bending over or lying down may increase the pressure on the sphincter, causing it to relax.1

Other things seem to increase the risk of heartburn problems without necessarily affecting the sphincter itself, so it’s a good idea to avoid them. 

Do certain foods and drinks cause heartburn?1,2

Yes, they do.

We all have the occasional craving for certain foods that aren’t very good for us. But it’s important to remember to take everything in moderation. Fatty or fried foods, spicy foods, onions and garlic, tomatoes and tomato products, citrus fruits and chocolate may trigger heartburn problems or make them worse.

Just like with food, it’s important to be wise about our choice of beverage – especially after a meal. Alcohol, coffee, tea and other softdrinks or energy drinks that contain caffeine may also trigger heartburn problems or make them worse.

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Do our lifestyle choices cause heartburn?1,2

Several of our lifestyle choices may be triggering heartburn.

Smoking may weaken the oesophageal sphincter. Besides being bad for our lungs, cigarettes bring about a host of other problems. This includes problems in the GI system.

Another factor that has a strong association with having heartburn problems is being overweight. Losing weight doesn’t only have to be for aesthetic purposes. It could also improve your general health and wellbeing.

Also, many people find stress, or a lack of sleep can trigger their heartburn symptoms or make them worse.. 

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Do some medications cause heartburn?1

If you take any medicine on a regular basis, such as some birth control pills or treatments for high blood pressure, it may contribute to heartburn problems. You should discuss this with your doctor.

Heartburn symptoms and problems

Most of us have experienced heartburn – that burning sensation in the chest – at some point in our lives. This is because it is the most common symptom of an heartburn problem.1,2

Quite a lot of people suffer from heartburn at night, and around three out of every four of these people say it disrupts their sleep.3 Heartburn problems at night may be related to lifestyle factors.

Heartburn also commonly occurs during pregnancy. In fact, it is often seen as a completely normal part of being pregnant.4 Learn more about what you can do to manage heartburn during your pregnancy journey here.

If you experience severe or very frequent heartburn (2 or more times a week) and often have acid reflux, make an appointment with your doctor as this may indicate a more serious form of heartburn, called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).1,5

Do heartburn problems get worse with age?

Some people do not often experience heartburn problems, while others may get them regularly. Sometimes you will go through a period with regular symptoms followed by a period without symptoms.1

People who do have symptoms regularly will probably continue to experience them on and off throughout their life, but on the positive side, the symptoms often won’t feel as bad.2

Solutions for heartburn problems

Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do to get relief from heartburn symptoms such as antacids and medications that can reduce the symptoms quickly and some handy lifestyle tips that can help prevent or reduce the severity of heartburn problems.

Eno complements your body’s natural self defence mechanism to fight heartburn, acid indigestion or sour stomach. Eno acts where the acid attacks and gets to work in just 6 seconds.7  Read more about Eno and learn how it can help relieve your symptoms here.2

There are 3 main types of medications used to manage acidity symptoms:2


like Eno, these work by neutralising the acid in your stomach (gastric acid) and they tend to provide relief very quickly.2

H2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs)

These are designed to reduce the amount of gastric acid you produce. They don’t work as quickly as antacids, but the effects may last longer.2

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

These work in a similar way to H2RAs, but they are more powerful and therefore may be more effective if your symptoms are more severe.2

Most antacids are available straight from your pharmacy, but you may need a prescription for H2RAs or PPIs.

Please see your doctor if your symptoms worry you, or if you try any of these treatments and they don't work or you find that you need them on a regular basis. You may need to have some tests done to confirm the problem or your doctor may give you a prescription for a stronger medication.

There are also some changes you can make to your everyday life that can help prevent or reduce the severity of heartburn symptoms like heartburn:1,2,6

If you are overweight, try and lose some weight

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Avoid tight-fitting clothing, which can put pressure on your stomach

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Elevate the head of your bed, especially if you have heartburn symptoms at night

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Avoid smoking and alcohol

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  • Avoid any foods that you know trigger your heartburn
  • Wait at least three hours after having a meal before going to bed
  • Avoid eating large meals – it’s better to have smaller meals more regularly.

Where to find out more

It’s good to know that there are lots of things you can do to stop heartburn symptoms from getting in the way of your everyday life.

One of the best places to start if your symptoms are not too severe is an antacid. One option could be Eno – you can find out about how Eno can help here.

Please remember to see your doctor if you have persistent or particularly severe symptoms.

  • References

    1. PubMed Health. Heartburn and GERD: Overview. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, November 2015. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072438/
    2. Sandhu DS, Fass R. Current trends in the management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Gut and Liver 2018; 12 (1): 7–16.
    3. Orr WC. Management of nighttime gastroesophageal reflux disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007; 3 (8): 605–606.
    4. Richter JE. Review article: the management of heartburn in pregnancy. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2005; 22 (9): 749–757.
    5. Mayo Clinic. Heartburn. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/symptoms-causes/syc-20373223
    6. Katz PO, Gerson LB, Vela MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108: 3: 308–328.
    7. A Comparison of the Effect of Regular ENO and Placebo on Intragastric pH inHealthy Fasted Subjects . Does not imply relief.