‘Tis the Season for Family, Food, and…Heartburn?

A photo of F. Tripp Buckley, MD, FACS, Director of the Heartburn and Esophageal Disorders Center.

UT Health Austin’s Medical Director for the Heartburn and Esophageal Disorders clinical practice within Digestive Health, the clinical partnership between UT Health Austin and Ascension Seton, Tripp Buckley, MD, shares his best advice for curbing holiday heartburn. Holiday heartburn is the result of overeating quickly during holiday or celebratory meals. Although this segment focuses on Thanksgiving, it’s great advice for upcoming holiday parties and celebrations throughout the festive month of December.

According to the National Institutes of Health, twenty percent of Americans suffer with heartburn. The holidays are a time when you may be eating more than you normally would, resulting in empty plates and full stomachs. But for some people, it also means battling heartburn. That’s the the chest pain or burning sensation right behind your chest that occurs after ingesting a large meal.

Don’t Go from Mashed Potato to Couch Potato

Dr. Buckley recommends reducing the amount that you eat. He states that by overeating you distend your stomach which leads to acid reflux flowing up into your esophagus. However, if eating less is out of the question, he recommends spreading out large meals over a longer period of time. Remember, gravity is your friend in avoiding heartburn immediately after eating, so avoid laying down after a large meal for at least 3-4 hours.

If you are prone to heartburn, there are certain foods you should avoid as well, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine; Yes, that means chocolate, too.

Uh oh, I ate too much. Now what?

But, if you indulge and are suffering the effects of heartburn, you can still get relief. Dr. Buckley recommends a first go-to for most people are over-the-counter medications like Tums and Rolaids. He says those medications often neutralize the acids in your stomach. However, if you have a persistent problem with heartburn, it could be something more complicated and even dangerous.” If you’re having reflux or heartburn, that you’ve been treating yourself for over 5 years, I think it’s time to see a gastroenterologist or specialist.”

For more information about the Heartburn and Esophageal Disorders clinical practice, click here.

For more about information about additional services offered in Digestive Health visit here or call 1-844-GI-AUSTIN (1-844-442-8784).

About the Partnership Between UT Health Austin and Ascension Seton

The collaboration between UT Health Austin and Ascension brings together medical professionals, medical school learners, and researchers who are all part of the integrated mission of transforming healthcare delivery and redesigning the academic health environment to better serve society. This collaboration allows highly specialized providers who are at the forefront of the latest research, diagnostic, and technological developments to build an integrated system of care that is a collaborative resource for clinicians and their patients.

About UT Health Austin

UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled quality of care. Our experienced healthcare professionals deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality and treat each patient as an individual with unique circumstances, priorities, and beliefs. Working directly with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you — in the care room and beyond. For more information, call us at 1-833-UT-CARES or request an appointment here.