Taking antacids or even acid-suppressing drugs before eating can reduce heartburn symptoms, East said. But, he warned, don’t use them to overindulge.
While these medications lower acid, they don’t stop the regurgitation that can accompany reflux, so overeating can still lead to uncomfortable symptoms, East said.
“Moderation in both food and alcohol, and enjoying the range of dishes available from your host is a better strategy than additional medication,” he said in a Mayo Clinic news release.
Reducing anxiety and stress might also help.
“Being stressed or anxious can lead to gut nerves being oversensitive where they fire off pain signals, such as cramping or bloating, at much lower levels of stimulation than would normally be required,” East noted.
Techniques such as mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy or hypnotherapy can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Physical positioning also plays a role in heartburn.
“Classical triggers for reflux include a large fatty meal late in the day, with alcohol, and then lying down flat,” East said.
To avoid heartburn, do the opposite, he suggested. Have your main meal in the middle of the day, don’t eat within three hours of bedtime, avoid fatty foods, moderate your alcohol intake and consider raising the head of your bed.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on heartburn.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Dec. 13, 2021