Heartburn is a common condition that can cause discomfort and severe pain. Many people suffer from this condition and want to know how to get rid of heartburn. Luckily, heartburn is very preventable and treatable.
Heartburn can be prevented by making lifestyle changes and avoiding triggers. It can be treated with a range of changes to your bodily state, taking natural remedies or using medication.
Our guide covers everything you need to know about getting rid of heartburn. We explain what it is, the food and drink that causes it and what you can do to prevent and stop it.
What are the main heartburn symptoms?
Heartburn is a painful, burning sensation in your chest. The pain heartburn causes ranges in severity, with mild heartburn causing some discomfort and severe cases being unpleasant enough that they can be mistaken for a heart attack.
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid moving up towards your throat, an occurrence known as acid reflux. These are the main symptoms of heartburn:
- Hot, acid, sour or salty taste in your throat
- Burning sensation in your chest
- Burning feeling in your gullet
- Recurring cough or hiccups
- Problems swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Feeling sick
- Bad breath
These symptoms will often be worse when lying down, bending over and after eating.
If you experience acid reflux symptoms on numerous occasions (some experts state if it’s twice in a single week) then it could be a sign you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD). GORD (also known as GERD or acid reflux disease) shares its symptoms with heartburn. The critical difference between the two is that heartburn is an occasional issue, while GORD is a chronic condition.
Heartburn symptoms can also be triggered by issues with the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES). The LES is a muscular valve found at the point in the body where the stomach meets the oesophagus.
Under normal circumstances, the LES ensures stomach acid stays in your stomach. But if your LES isn’t working correctly, it can lead stomach acid to leak into the oesophagus, causing the burning sensation associated with heartburn.
Now that we’ve explained what heartburn is and listed its signs, in the following sections we present you with a range of options for preventing, managing and treating heartburn.
What food and drink causes heartburn?
Heartburn is a condition thought to affect 25% of adults in the UK. It’s common, manageable and treatable. You can also increase your chances of preventing this condition by avoiding certain foods and drinks that are common heartburn triggers.
These a some of the foods and drinks that commonly trigger heartburn:
- Chocolate: the sweeter it is the more likely it is to cause heartburn.
- Foods that are high in fat: including cheese, avocados and nuts.
- Citrus fruits: such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.
- Fried foods: chips, burgers, fish and many other examples.
- Spicy foods: like black pepper, garlic and raw onions.
- Caffeinated drinks: notably, soft drinks.
- Tomatoes: particularly fresh ones.
- Alcohol: especially red wine.
- Peppermint: food and drink.
- Caffeine: tea and coffee.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and not everything on it will cause you to get heartburn. Certain foods and drinks will cause specific people to get heartburn some of the time. Some will lead them to get heartburn all of the time. Others will never result in them getting heartburn.
The key is spotting your triggers and then ensuring you take the appropriate steps to manage the heartburn risks that come with consuming them.
How to get rid of heartburn fast
There’s no cure-all remedy for getting rid of heartburn fast. People will react differently to the methods they adopt to tackle their heartburn. But there are some approaches that can quickly rid you of heartburn.
These are some of the tactics that can get rid of heartburn fast:
- Loosening your clothing: tight clothing can suppress the stomach.
- Standing straight: being laid down can make heartburn worse.
- Baking soda mixed with water: can neutralise stomach acid.
- Sipping apple cider vinegar: may neutralise stomach acid.
- Take an acid neutralizer: able to neutralise stomach acid.
- Chewing gum: could dilute and clear stomach acid.
- Drinking milk: temporarily buffers stomach acid.
The tactics above demonstrate that heartburn can be countered by making small changes to your state of being, using natural remedies and taking medication.
They’re reactive steps but you can also be proactive in getting rid of heartburn by taking some preventative measures to avoid getting it in the first place.
These are some of the preventative measures you can take to avoid getting heartburn:
- Don’t eat less than three hours before bed
- Avoid lying down after you’ve eaten
- Steer clear of your known triggers
- Keep a healthy weight
Practice the preventative measures we’ve listed to avoid getting heartburn. And if you do experience heartburn then you can use the tactics we’ve outlined to get rid of it quickly.
How to get rid of heartburn at night
You can get rid of heartburn at any time of the day by taking a range of natural remedies and pharmaceutical medications.
This section of our guide covers the approaches you can take to disperse heartburn you suffer specifically at night time. These are the approaches you can use to relieve heartburn:
- Elevate your upper body when you sleep: being led flat makes it easy for stomach acid to travel up your oesophagus.
- Avoid exercise immediately after dinner: give yourself a couple of hours between dinner and exercise to give your stomach a chance to clear.
- Wear loose-fitting nightwear: this reduces the pressure on your stomach and lowers the chance of you getting heartburn.
- Don’t have late-night meals: lowers stomach acid levels and reduce pressure on your stomach.
- Sleep on your left side: it’s thought that this can help to cut the chances of you experiencing heartburn symptoms.
If you take these approaches and combine them with the appropriate treatment (natural or pharmaceutical) then your chances of getting rid of heartburn at night will be improved.
How to get rid of heartburn in pregnancy
Heartburn during pregnancy can be stressful for expectant mothers. There is a range of medications that can’t be taken during pregnancy and this can raise questions about the steps you can take to get rid of heartburn.
Below, we’ve listed some of the methods you can use to rid yourself of heartburn during pregnancy:
- Take certain medications: your doctor can tell you what medications are safe for use.
- Snack on papaya or pineapple: eating these fruits after a meal can aid digestion.
- Try some ginger: it can prevent stomach acid from moving up the oesophagus.
- Consume some yoghurt: its probiotic nature can soothe heartburn.
- Drink milk dashed with honey: can neutralise stomach acid.
- Chew a bit of gum: sugar-free gum may reduce acid reflux.
Combine these approaches with preventative measures (like avoiding your known triggers) and you can reduce your chances of experiencing heartburn, along with boosting your odds of getting rid of it.
How to get rid of heartburn in children
Heartburn in children can be worrying for parents, relatives and kids alike. Children are unable to take certain medications, which means parents may have concerns about what can be done to rid their child(s) of heartburn.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the methods you can use to get rid of heartburn in children:
- Raise their head at bedtime: lowers the chance of stomach acid moving up their throat.
- Give them approved medication: your doctor can tell you what your child can take.
- Avoid certain foods and drinks: spicy and acidic are the main ones.
- Provide them with smaller meals: to put less stress on their digestive system.
- Encourage them to exercise: it can help to support good digestion.
Use these methods (in addition to avoiding known triggers) and you can lower the chances of your child suffering from heartburn.
Medical heartburn remedies
Heartburn can be very painful but it’s highly treatable.
There are a number of medical remedies you can take to help treat your heartburn. Over-the-counter treatments are effective at tackling milder cases of heartburn, while prescription medications work to soothe more serious occurrences.
Below, we’ve listed the over-the-counter and prescription treatments you can take to reduce heartburn symptoms:
Gaviscon Double Action Tablets
- Suitable for: Adults and children aged 12+
- Learn more about Gaviscon Double Action Tablets.
Gaviscon Infant Sachets
- Suitable for: children over the age of one
- Learn more about Gaviscon Infant Sachets.
Pepto-Bismol (Tablets & Liquid)
- Suitable for: anyone aged 16+
- Learn more about Pepto-Bismol (Tablets & Liquid)
Famotidine 20mg Tablets
- Suitable for: adults aged 18+ and the elderly
- Learn more about Famotidine 20mg Tablets.
Omeprazole 20mg Capsules
- Suitable for: Adults and children over the age of one
- Learn more about Omeprazole 20mg Capsules.
Lansoprazole 15mg Orodispersible Tablets
- Suitable for: adults aged 18+
- Learn more about Lansoprazole 15mg Orodispersible Tablets.
Lansoprazole 15mg Capsules
- Suitable for: adults aged 18+
- Learn more about Lansoprazole 15mg Capsules.
Losec MUPS 20mg Tablets
- Suitable for: Adults, the elderly and children over the age of one
Learn more about Losec MUPS 20mg Tablets.
Natural heartburn remedies
Heartburn can be treated effectively with over-the-counter and/or prescription medication. But there are plenty of natural heartburn remedies you can use.
These are some of the best natural remedies you can take to prevent and/or treat heartburn:
- Elevating your upper body when you sleep
- Avoiding exercise immediately after dinner
- Drinking milk dashed with some honey
- Raising children’s heads at bedtime
- Snacking on papaya or pineapple
- Providing kids with smaller meals
- Encouraging children to exercise
- Wearing loose-fitting nightwear
- Water mixed with baking soda
- Sipping on apple cider vinegar
- Not having late-night meals
- Consuming a bit of yoghurt
- Sleeping on your left side
- Chewing a bit of gum
- Loosen your clothing
- Standing up straight
- Trying some ginger
- Drinking some milk
Speak to a doctor or pharmacist to get rid of heartburn in the best way(s)
Heartburn is a common condition with many forms of treatment. You can make lifestyle changes, use natural remedies or take medication (over-the-counter or prescription).
You can make an informed decision on what the right treatment is for heartburn but it can be helpful to speak to a doctor or pharmacist. This is particularly true if you experience heartburn twice in a single week, as it might mean you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD).
A doctor or pharmacist can provide medical advice to ensure you’re getting rid of your heartburn in the best way(s).
The Independent Pharmacy can advise you on the best ways of treating heartburn. Please speak to one of our experts today to get discreet advice on how to get rid of heartburn.