Heartburn

Heartburn

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​Heartburn is a burning pain or discomfort felt in the middle of the chest.  it is a common symptom associated often with meals. You can alleviate heartburn with home remedies. 

Usually, heartburn is felt as a burning sensation in the lower part of the breast bone, but it may also be felt further up and radiate to your neck. Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, when acidic gastric juices travel upwards through the oesophagus, sometimes leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. Heartburn often occurs after eating acidic foods or heavy meals.  Tight clothes and bending down make the symptoms worse, as does lying down. A typical underlying cause of heartburn is gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), which is a functional disorder of the stomach and oesophagus.

Self-care

​Temporary heartburn can be relieved with antacids that counteract the acid, which are available at pharmacies without a prescription. Pharmacy staff will help you select the right product, if necessary. You can use over-the-counter antacids for a couple of weeks. It may take a couple of days before symptoms subside.​

To prevent the recurrence of heartburn, you can also try to avoid foods that irritate the stomach (acidic foods and fruit, coffee, greasy foods and chocolate), heavy meals before bedtime, heavy alcohol consumption, and smoking. Also weight management may help.

Raising the head of your bed may curb night-time heartburn.​

When should you seek medical advice?

​You should seek medical advice, if

  • you have heartburn most days of the week for long periods of time.
  • you experience heartburn for the first time and are over 50 years of age.
  • heartburn is constant, frequent or severe, or the pain radiates from your stomach to your back.
  • in addition to a burning sensation, you have a stomach or chest pain.
  • your symptoms include nausea, vomiting, difficulty to swallow or weight loss.
  • self-care does not help.
  • heartburn is related to exertion.

You can assess your heartburn symptoms in more detail on Omaolo Service website. The questionnaire will help you to decide when and where you should seek medical advice.

If you experience sudden or unexpected abdominal or chest pain in addition to heartburn, you must seek medical assistance immediately. These symptoms may be signs of a heart problem. You should also seek medical assistance if you are vomiting blood, or have difficulty swallowing.​

More information

The producers of the instruction

​​​​​Emergency care professionals have produced the instruction in collaboration with Terveyskirjasto.​

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Updated  22.4.2021