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