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What Causes Heartburn & How to Relieve it | AD

*This is a paid post in partnership with Rennie®.*

I clearly remember the first time I had heartburn. I was having a great time with my friend Adeline on a girly getaway. Madeira was beautiful, warm and the food there was incredible! I was six months’ pregnant with my first baby and we were walking back to our hotel after a great day exploring Funchal. 

I had a sudden shot of pain through my heart and thought I might be having some sort of cramp towards my heart. For a moment, I even wondered if it might be the onset of a heart attack. Thankfully, Adeline knew exactly what was wrong and reassured me immediately. We stopped at the pharmacy on the way to our room and I spent the rest of my pregnancy trying to find ways to relieve heartburn.

Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medicine in pregnancy.

Heartburn is such a pain in the neck (quite literally!). Check this blog post for a range of tips to relieve heartburn and find out what causes it.
Photo taken by my friend Adeline in Madeira (2018)

What’s heartburn?

Rather than waffling on about heartburn, I thought it might be wise to start with the NHS’ definition:

“Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat (acid reflux). If it keeps happening, it’s called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).”

Is it really heartburn?

Just in case you’re not sure what you’re experiencing is heartburn, here are the most common symptoms:

  • A burning sensation towards the middle of your chest, behind your breastbone
  • Stomach acid causing a bitter taste in your throat
  • Pains in the chest after eating or when bending over or lying down

What causes heartburn? 

In layman terms, heartburn happens when the valve at the entrance of your stomach doesn’t close tightly, allowing stomach acid to rise up towards your throat. 

It usually happens after meals, when you go to bed or during the night and it can last for hours and hours.

Heartburn can be caused or exacerbated by a number of things, including:

  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • eating food on the go
  • being overweight
  • certain food like chocolate or a spicy meal
  • fizzy drinks
  • stress
  • overworking
  • anxiety
  • some painkillers like ibuprofen
  • pregnancy
Heartburn is such a pain in the neck (quite literally!). Check this blog post for a range of tips to relieve heartburn and find out what causes it.
My mum took this photo a few hours before I gave birth to Beanie in 2010.

I’d never experienced heartburn until my first pregnancy, but ever since I started growing babies, I’ve regularly suffered from the awful burning sensation in my chest. The last term of every single one of my pregnancies was definitely heartburn-central. Hay fever also appeared out of nowhere when I was pregnant with girls! These days, I tend to suffer from bloating and heartburn when I am away from home for a few days and eat too much ‘beige’ food.  

How can you relieve the symptoms of heartburn and have a happy tummy?

Heartburn is such a pain in the neck (quite literally!). Check this blog post for a range of tips to relieve heartburn and find out what causes it.

Here are a few things you can try to relieve the symptoms of heartburn when you DO get it:

  • Stay away from cigarette smoke
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Stand up straight 
  • Eat small meals regularly rather than three large meals
  • Try to relax (sit up straight and meditate for 10 minutes or practise yoga regularly)
  • Place an extra couple of pillows under your mattress to ensure your head and chest are higher than your waist (to avoid stomach acid travelling up to your throat)
  • Wear loose clothes
  • Try over-the-counter antacids
  • If your BMI (body mass index) is over 25, try to get to a healthier weight 

If you are worried or keep getting heartburn, make sure you seek medical advice from a professional.

Disclosure:

– This post is an advert for Rennie® but all copy and photos are my own. When symptoms strike, Rennie® provides a range of fast-acting, effective treatments that help to relieve heartburn and indigestion so you can get on with your life. Rennie® comes in a wide range of flavours and packs, and has been a remedy for more than 85 years: Rennie Peppermint for heartburn and indigestion. Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension. Rennie Heartburn, Indigestion & Wind Relief Chewable Tablets. Always read the label.

– Please note that although these tips are tried-and-tested methods to relieve heartburn or acid reflux, I have no medical background, so it’s always wise to get an opinion from your doctor if you are feeling unwell. 

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16 Comments

  1. 19/09/2019 / 12:46 pm

    I suffered with the worst heartburn when I was pregnant and thankfully don’t suffer normally! Great tips and things to avoid if you so suffer.

    • Mel
      Author
      19/09/2019 / 11:37 pm

      Same here. The worst bouts of heartburn for me have always been when pregnant.

  2. 19/09/2019 / 6:08 pm

    Luckily, I’ve never suffered from heartburn. However, my husband gets it a lot so I’m going to make sure he reads this post!

    • Mel
      Author
      19/09/2019 / 11:36 pm

      You’re so lucky! I hope the post helps your husband.

  3. 19/09/2019 / 7:47 pm

    I used to have it when I was pregnant, really badly and my husband gets if from time to time – I’m suspecting he should get checked!

    • Mel
      Author
      19/09/2019 / 11:36 pm

      It’s awful when you’re pregnant and no matter what you eat, you get that burning sensation, isn’t it?

  4. 20/09/2019 / 7:28 am

    I have acid reflux all the time but not had that burning sensation of heartburn, I learnt something new today.

    • Mel
      Author
      20/09/2019 / 7:13 pm

      Acid reflux is horrible as well. One of my daughters had it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. She wasn’t impressed!

  5. 20/09/2019 / 10:18 am

    Heartburn is the worst! I had it when I was pregnant too and it was very unpleasant indeed. I’ve also had it in recent years also. Since I’ve started eating smaller meals that’s really helped.

    • Mel
      Author
      20/09/2019 / 7:12 pm

      I couldn’t agree more: smaller meals definitely help. I can’t help snacking just before bed though (so naughty!). x

  6. 20/09/2019 / 10:15 pm

    I think I’ve only ever had heartburn once or twice luckily but my parents get it all the time and swear by Rennie! Thank you for the the tips.

    • Mel
      Author
      30/09/2019 / 2:17 pm

      Lucky you! I’d never had it until my first pregnancy. It’s just horrid.

  7. 22/09/2019 / 9:37 am

    i sufered badly from heartburn when i was pregnant , i did not realise that being overweight can cause this , ps you look beautiful lovely

    • Mel
      Author
      30/09/2019 / 2:15 pm

      Thanks Pati 🙂

  8. 22/09/2019 / 10:33 pm

    Ive struggled for years and often reach for the integration remedies. Realising that certain foods trigger me has helped but even svpiding thise I can still get a bout of heartburn if I eat too rich foods and eat too late before bed…great tips here on other ways I can live a heartburn free life xx

    • Mel
      Author
      30/09/2019 / 2:14 pm

      I’m too often guilty of eating snacks before bed. I know it triggers heartburn but I can’t help myself!

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