Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone or in the epigastrium, the upper central abdomen. The pain often rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw.
Any symptom of the following should be immediately referred to a GP: intestinal bleeding, which can present as coffee grounds in vomit, difficulty swallowing, persistent vomiting, anaemia, cardiac pain can also be confused with dyspeptic pain, some medicines such as nurofen and aspirin can also cause gastro-intestinal problems.
If you are overweight, weight loss will reduce your symptoms. Smoking cessation will also reduce symptoms. It is also important to reduce triggers such as fatty and spicy foods.
New heartburn type pain that start over the age of 40 should be referred to a GP to rule out more serious conditions.
Treatment: the main treatment for excess acid is an antacid like gaviscon which neutralises the acid. Other treatments prevent the production of acid, please check with our pharmacist Niamh who can advise you if this treatment is suitable for you.