When a person experiences heartburn, it is usually associated with a burning sensation in the chest. But what exactly causes this condition?
Dr Charles Namis, a general practitioner at Nsambya Hospital, says heartburn creates a burning feeling in the chest that may be accompanied by a feeling of food being stuck in the throat. He says the condition can be caused by over-eating or having too much pressure in the stomach, as a result of obesity, pregnancy or constipation.
“Alcohol, coffee and oranges, or other acidic juices are some of the beverages that can trigger heartburn. Fatty, as well as spicy foods can also cause heartburn,” Dr Namis explains.
In some cases, heartburn can be triggered by stress or use of certain drugs. “Stress and lack of sleep can increase acid production, whereas smoking stimulates stomach acid, which is a major contributor to heartburn. Medications for blood pressure, inflammations and painkillers are also known to cause heartburn,” says Dr Namis. He, however, notes that heartburn can also be a sign of ulcers or tuberculosis of the lungs.
•Take plenty of liquids such as water and milk to help dilute the acid that may collect in the stomach.
•Do not eat too much food and instead, engage regularly in exercise routines such as jogging and walking, especially after a meal.
•Chew gum and magnesium tablets to help neutralise the acid that may stimulate heartburn.