Ochsner Offers Tips to Calm Holiday Heartburn

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Most of us have felt it – that burning, painful feeling in the chest associated with heartburn.  But don’t let holiday heartburn ruin this year’s family get together or celebration.  Ochsner offers the following tips for holiday heartburn reduction:

Avoid food triggers.  Many holiday foods such as fried turkey, gravy, rich desserts and coffee are common triggers for heartburn. Avoid these triggers or eat less of them.

Don’t overeat.  Large quantities of food may be a holiday tradition, but eating large meals can increase your risk for heartburn later.  Instead, eat smaller meals throughout the day.Wear loose fitting clothing.  Tight fitting clothing can put extra pressure on the stomach leading to heartburn.

No naptime.  Holiday post-meal naps are a tradition in most families.  But, midday snoozing may increase heartburn risk.  Instead of lying down after mealtime, use this time for visiting with family or taking a walk together.

De-stress.  Stress and anxiety can boost heartburn risk. Plan ahead and relax this season instead of hustling and bustling. If you do have a case of holiday heartburn this season try using antacids to squelch the flame.  

Maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can also help to reduce your risk for recurring heartburn.  If you have frequent heartburn (occurring more than twice a week) and your heartburn is not relieved by over-the-counter medications, you should see your doctor.  Treatment options for persistent heartburn may include prescription medications or surgery, which can now be performed with a minimal incision using the da Vinci® surgical system.   Heartburn symptoms can sometimes be confused with heart attack symptoms.  You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe chest pain, have difficulty breathing or have jaw or arm pain as these may be a sign of a heart attack.  

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