Bad case of heartburn

After a large meal and red wine some of the stomach acid produced can flow back into the esophagus due to a relaxed or weakened sphincter [1]. Lying down on the couch is a bad idea since it probably would make the acid backup worse [2].

The resulting heartburn causes the primary symptoms, which is a burning pain in the chest under the breastbone [2]. Heartburn can happen occasionally to almost anyone, but if the symptoms become frequent, then the heartburn may be related to gastroesophageal reflux disease [2].

You can drink some baking soda mixed with cream of tartar and water as a temporary measure, then think about changing your diet to smaller meals and losing some fat [2].

Home remedies might help. Digestive enzymes help to get the digestive process moving more quickly. Increasing fiber absorbs acid and gas. Tea soothes the stomach and gets things going. You can also try ginger.

1. Tortora, GJ, Derrickson, B. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 11th ed; 2006. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
2. Mayo Clinic. Heartburn. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heartburn-gerd/DS00095. Accessed on November 22, 2008.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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