Raise your hand if you’ve ever indulged a holiday meal and then hit the couch to catch a holiday movie or play a game with your family and friends –only to feel a slow burn crawl its way up into your chest?
You might be among millions of people who will experience gastroesophageal reflux (GER) this holiday season, according to many health institutions.
Between overindulging on high-fat meals, decadent desserts and festive drinks, it’s no surprise that many individuals find themselves suffering from heartburn during the holiday season. With the holiday season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to shed a light on the disease and share advice on how to ease digestive discomfort and prevent it from happening in the first place.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – which includes symptoms such as frequent heartburn, During the holidays more people might suffer from GERD and heartburn as we tend to consume more foods and beverages that cause discomfort, ranging from burning chest pain to trouble swallowing.
People are more likely to experience heartburn and acid reflux during the holidays.
And this is mainly diet-related. An excessive portion size is the primary contributor to holiday heartburn. Additionally, the types of food you eat during the holidays are common GERD triggers. Chocolate, alcohol, and peppermint, fatty foods (red meat, fried foods, nuts), and citrus foods can contribute to heartburn
Here are some tips for managing symptoms especially during the holidays when people are around fatty foods, alcohol:
- Don't wear tight pants. Tight pants can keep appetite under control, which is certainly a plus. But they constrict your stomach, which makes heartburn more likely
-Keep portion sizes small. Allow yourself to have your favorite treats but start with a small amount first. This might be all you need to satisfy that craving.
- Choose non-carbonated beverages. Carbonation also puts pressure on your stomach and LES.
- Chew thoroughly and slowly. Some digestion starts in your mouth, so less work for your stomach to do! A single plate of food should take you at least 20 minutes to eat.
- Use gravity to your advantage. Eat sitting up and avoid laying down within 2 hours after eating. Better yet, go for a walk after meals! Even a short 10-minute walk can aid digestion.
Need relief? OTC antacids and acid reducers may help
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are drugs you can buy without a doctor’s prescription. three types of OTC medicines treat heartburn and acid reflux:
Antacids. These products reduce the effects of acid in your stomach by neutralizing the acid. Chewable tablets, dissolving tablets, and liquids are can provide quick, short-term relief.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), They reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach. They may take a longer to work than antacids and H2 blockers to reduce your symptoms, but relief will last longer. Most PPIs begin working in a few days. “PPIs are most helpful for people who have chronic heartburn, which is more than two days a week.
Proton pump inhibitors(PPIs) with Antacid like Sodium Bicarbonate for faster and prolonged relief
H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes, typically within an hour of ingestion. these products don’t relieve symptoms as quickly as antacids, but they do last longer.
How to use these drugs safely and effectively?
Read the label.
Do not take more than directed or use for longer than directed on the label.
If your heartburn symptoms persist even after taking these drugs, then talk to a health care professional.
Food and Drug Administration- Over-The-Counter (OTC) Heartburn Treatment
WebMD Tackling Holiday Heartburn.
American Gastroenterological Association.
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.