Heartburn and indigestion

Many people suffer from heartburn and indigestion at some point in their life.

 

The cause of Heartburn and Indigestion:

  • The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
  • When the muscle that separates the esophagus and the stomach does not close properly, the contents of the stomach leak into to esophagus.
  • The lining of the stomach is protected from the acidic contents by mucous secretions. However, the cells in the esophagus do not have this mucous protection. When the acidic contents of the stomach leak into the esophagus it causes irritation and burning in the throat. This is called heartburn or indigestion.
  • Anyone, including infants and children, can have problems with reflux. If not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems which may require medicines or surgery.

 

Lifestyle changes improve symptoms. Here are some management tips that can be used to ease gastric discomfort:

  • Choose easily digested foods that are not associated with discomfort.
  • Eat regular meals and do not skip meals. Never overeat!
  • Eat small meals and chew food well, eat slowly.
  • Avoid alchohol.
  • Avoid aspirin Use paracetamol products.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks
  • Use simple preparation for all foods.
  • Avoid fried foods
  • Avoid spicy foods. Pepper is a strong gastric irritant.
  • Avoid rich creamy foods, cakes and pastries.
  • Avoid freshly baked bread and rolls.
  • Choose whole-grain and unrefined foods.
  • Avoid caffeine beverages
  • Avoid smoked food e.g. bacon, smoked ham, kippers etc.
  • Despite the soothing effect of milk, it does stimulate acid secretion and is not an effective antacid.
  • Avoid bedtime snacks as these will increase acid production during the night.
  • If necessary, lose weight!

Yours in Health,
Mbali Mapholi
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