Your Heartburn Guide

Heartburn is the reflux of acid stomach contents and occurs particularly when overindulging in rich foods and too much alcohol. Heartburn is caused by acid from the stomach pushing up into the oesophagus. Causes of heartburn include pregnancy, rich food, alcohol, hiatus hernia, being overweight, smoking, medication and even just lying down. Symptoms of heartburn often start with a painful or burning sensation in the upper abdomen or chest, sometimes radiating to the back . Some people describe it as a “must-sit-up” feeling (regurgitation). The acid reflux can reach the pharynx and mouth. It tastes sour and can burn. Excess burping is also a common symptom of heartburn. The treatment of heartburn is mainly by medication. Most people find that antacids, taken before and after meals and at bedtime, successfully control the symptoms.

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Heartburn expert

Monique Marais is a Gastroenterologist working in Cape Town. After qualifying at the University of Pretoria, she worked in emergency rooms in South Africa and the UK before going into private practice.

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