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Heartburn and acid reflux

Acid reflux is where stomach acid travels up to your throat from your stomach. It can cause a burning feeling in your chest called heartburn.

Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

It's not always obvious what causes acid reflux. It can be caused or made worse by some foods and drinks, stress or pregnancy.

You can help heartburn and acid reflux by eating smaller meals and not eating too to bedtime. Medicines like antacids can also help.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Check if you have acid reflux

The main symptoms of acid reflux are:

You may also have:

Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.

Read more on the NHS website.

You can help heartburn and acid reflux by eating smaller meals and not eating too to bedtime. Medicines like antacids can also help.

Self-care

Simple lifestyle changes can help stop or reduce heartburn.


Do

  • eat smaller, more frequent meals

  • raise 1 end of your bed 10 to 20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress – your chest and head should be above the level of your waist, so stomach acid does not travel up towards your throat

  • try to lose weight if you're overweight

  • try to find ways to relax


Don't

  • do not have food or drink that triggers your symptoms

  • do not eat within 3 or 4 hours before bed

  • do not wear clothes that are tight around your waist

  • do not smoke

  • do not drink too much alcohol

  • do not stop taking any prescribed medicine without speaking to a doctor first

Medical treatments

A GP may prescribe a medicine called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that reduces how much acid your stomach makes. PPIs include:

You'll usually need to take this type of medicine for 4 or 8 weeks, depending on how serious your acid reflux is.

Important

Go back to the GP if your symptoms return after stopping your medicine. You may need a long-term prescription.

Tests and surgery for heartburn and acid reflux

If medicines do not help or your symptoms are severe, a GP may refer you to a specialist for:

  • tests to find out what's causing your symptoms, such as a gastroscopy (where a thin tube with a camera is passed down your throat)
  • an operation on your stomach to stop acid reflux – called a laparoscopic fundoplication

Read more on the NHS website.

It's not always obvious what causes acid reflux. It can be caused or made worse by some foods and drinks, stress or pregnancy.

Read more on the NHS website.