GP Dr Sarah Jarvis gives her tips on how to enjoy a heartburn-free Christmas…
Heartburn is usually worse at night because stomach acid doesn’t have to travel upwards against gravity when you are lying down. Try using a wedge pillow or raising the head of your bed about 15cm with some books or blocks. Sleeping on your left side can also reduce acid reflux.
Eating too much can aggravate heartburn, as can eating too quickly. Opt for smaller portions where possible and take your time.
Although heartburn triggers are different for everyone, acidic, fatty and spicy foods are the usual causes. Go easy on Christmas goodies such as red wine, cheese and oranges, especially late at night.
Take a tablet
If you suffer from heartburn frequently, a proton pump inhibitor such as Nexium Control may help. It targets heartburn at its source by blocking acid production in the stomach. You can take one tablet per day for up to 14 consecutive days.
Smokers are more prone to heartburn, and symptoms can improve within just a few days of quitting. The same applies to excess alcohol. This is because drinking and smoking can relax the ring of muscle separating your food pipe and your stomach, allowing stomach acid to reflux back into the windpipe.