No-one is immune from a heartburn attack. Here's a story of how a Cape Town doctor dealth with this uncomfortable condition when it first started in 2004.
"I started experiencing my first attack of heartburn only a few months ago. I am convinced that it is primarily due to two reasons - the first being a stressful working situation in which I carry managerial responsibility and the second that I had picked up 8 kg in weight since May the previous year."
Chocolates and spicy foods are my worst
"I get heartburn about once a week and it is often at its worst at night when I lie down to go to sleep. I can feel the acid pushing into my oesophagus. I recently lost 3 kg and it seems to have made a difference. The worst triggers for heartburn in my case seem to be chocolate and spicy foods.
"I now tend to avoid fatty foods, not just because of the heartburn, but because I want to lose weight. But I have friends who can hardly touch fatty or spicy foods without getting dreadful heartburn.
"Something which has made a difference to me, is not eating large meals. Smaller meals are definitely better for people who suffer from heartburn."
Lifestyle changes have made a difference
"I found that normal antacids seemed to help. I have been fortunate in that I did not seem to need any other medication. I have not consulted a doctor about my heartburn, as it fortunately has not got to a point where lifestyle and diet changes as well as over-the-counter medication could not solve the immediate problem."
(As told to Susan Erasmus, Health24, 2004, updated January 2009)
FAQs on heartburn