HEARTBURN HAS A LOT TO ANSWER FOR

Heartburn and acid reflux are considered frequent if you get this kind of symptom twice a week or more. Research shows that people who get frequent heartburn often think it’s unavoidable and feel resigned to trying to manage the symptoms once they occur.1 If this sounds familiar, we want you to know that it doesn’t have to be that way and that a proactive, mindful approach can help you take back control.

Brought to you by

Nexium Control

Battle The Burn has been developed alongside GP Dr Carol Cooper, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Denise Ratcliffe, Pharmacist Deborah Evans and Nutritionist Lily Soutter.
The HCPs involved in this campaign content do not endorse any medicinal products or brands and have only provided advice on the clinical content below.

WHAT IMPACT IS HEARTBURN HAVING ON YOUR LIFE?

You may have been living with heartburn for some time and might have come to think of it as a regular part of your everyday life. But how much is it actually hassling and hindering you? If you get heartburn twice a week or more, the below assessment tool, developed with Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Denise Ratcliffe, can help you to understand the impact that it is having on your life and consider how well you’re managing it.
Indicate below how far you agree or disagree with each of the following statements:

I feel stressed at the onset on heartburn

I tend to put up with heartburn

Getting heartburn is avoidable

Heartburn impacts my quality of sleep

I have formed new habits to help cope with heartburn symptoms

I am able to prevent heartburn

My family and friends know I get heartburn

I make sure I always have a heartburn treatment to hand

I feel stressed or upset when I get heartburn

I go to bed late to try and avoid getting heartburn

It seems that frequent heartburn is having only a limited impact on your life at present. That's good news.

Dr Denise Ratcliffe says:

"You might still be actively seeking ways to make your life a little more comfortable and striving to be heartburn free. If so then have a look at the expert advice here. Frequent heartburn shouldn't be something you just have to endure. There may be steps you can take to adapt your lifestyle, and possibly your approach to treatment, that can help you experience less symptoms and feel more in control."

It looks like heartburn is affecting certain aspects of your life and well-being. Maybe you feel like you're coping okay or you might be actively seeking ways to make life a little more comfortable.

Dr Denise Ratcliffe says:

"Frequent heartburn shouldn't be something you just have to tolerate. Take a moment to consider how your life could be improved without the interruptions it causes. There may be steps you can take to adapt your lifestyle, and possibly your approach to treatment, that can help you experience less symptoms and feel more in control. You can read more here."

It seems like heartburn is having a big impact on your life. You might have learnt to 'put up with it' over time but your answers suggest it's negatively affecting you in different ways.

Dr Denise Ratcliffe says:

"If you're feeling like heartburn is unavoidable and you feel resigned to dealing with reoccurring symptoms then you're not alone. The good news is that it doesn't need to be that way. Heartburn shouldn't be a way of life. There may be steps you can take to adapt your lifestyle, and possibly your approach to treatment, that can help you experience less symptoms and feel more in control. So take a proactive approach and keep an open mind. Why not try some of the practical tips set out here that you might not have considered."

HOW CAN I REDUCE THE IMPACT OF HEARTBURN ON MY SLEEP?

How often is heartburn interrupting your sleep? You might have become used to it over the years, but planning ahead and being mindful about how you manage heartburn can really help to minimise the chances of a restless night.

Here are five things you can do which you might not have already tried:

  1. Get some comfy pyjamas! Wearing clothing to bed that is restrictive can put pressure on your abdomen
  2. Have a shower before bed. Giving yourself five minutes to relax and unwind before you sleep will help to reduce the likelihood of heartburn impacting your sleep.
  3. Sleep on your left side. This is the position that has been found to best reduce acid reflux. Try tucking a pillow behind your back to help you stay in position.
  4. Use a wedge pillow if you can’t avoid eating late. This can help to keep your upper body elevated.
  5. Consider your use of treatment and how effective it is in helping you get restful sleep.

Watch the video with Dr Carol Cooper for her tips and advice on taking control of heartburn.

HOW CAN I REDUCE THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON MY HEARTBURN?

Do you find that you’re more prone to heartburn when you feel stressed or anxious? How regularly is this happening? We all live busy, chaotic lives, so don’t let heartburn be an added worry. Just thinking ahead and taking a proactive approach to managing heartburn can really help to minimise the likelihood of flare-ups.

Here are five things you can do which you might not have already tried:

  1. Count to 20 between mouthfuls. It's easy to eat too quickly when you're stressed or busy, but chewing and eating slowly will help reduce the likelihood of heartburn. Having sips of water between bites will also help.
  2. Listen to a chill out playlist on Spotify. There are a number of playlists that have been created to aid in stress-reduction if you’re feeling uptight.
  3. Focus on your breathing. Take a few moments to stop and focus on deep breathing to reduce stress.
  4. Opt for a spritzer or shandy. Adding tonic or lemonade will reduce the overall amount of alcohol you’re consuming and reduce your chances of heartburn. If fizzy drinks cause your heartburn to flare up, consider substituting these for juice.
  5. Consider your use of treatment and how it could help when you’re facing stressful situations.

Watch the video with Dr Carol Cooper for her tips and advice on taking control of heartburn.

HOW CAN I BETTER UNDERSTAND THE FOOD THAT CAUSES MY HEARTBURN?

Certain foods can trigger heartburn for many people, but if you find that you’re continually making alterations to your diet or worrying about the onset of symptoms, then it might be time to try something different. Taking a proactive approach can help to minimise the likelihood of flare-ups.

Here are five things you can do which you might not have already tried:

  1. Keep a food diary using MyFitnessPal or a similar app. Even if this is something you’ve already tried, your trigger foods may have changed over time, so give it another go to see if anything is different.
  2. Use a smaller plate. It will still give the optical illusion that your plate is full!
  3. Chew sugarless gum after meals. Chewing gum promotes salivation, which helps neutralise acid. Although avoid peppermint-flavoured gum as this can be a trigger.
  4. Find simple substitutes for trigger foods. You won’t always want to avoid your favourite foods, but when you can, try making simple substitutes. If fiery spices such as chilli is one of your triggers, create flavour using other spices such as cinnamon, or herbs such as basil or oregano, which can help food feel more flavoursome.
  5. Consider your use of treatment and how it could help you to feel less cautious about what you eat and when.

Watch the video with Dr Carol Cooper for her tips and advice on taking control of heartburn.

SHOULD I REVIEW MY CHOICE OF TREATMENT?

"People often only consider severity when treating their heartburn, but how often you experience it is actually more important. Different treatments work in different ways, so try to make sure your treatment suits your lifestyle and minimises the disruption caused by heartburn."

- Dr Carol Cooper

If heartburn is disrupting your life twice a week or more, consider your use of treatment and how it could help you stay in control.

  • Antacids provide temporary relief from the pain of heartburn as they neutralise stomach acid to alleviate symptoms. They work almost instantly, but they also wear off quickly, which means they may need to be taken repeatedly.
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are different to antacids as they can provide long-lasting protection against heartburn. They do this by blocking the release of excess acid in the first place. PPIs are recommended as a first line treatment for frequent heartburn and shouldn’t only be used as a last resort. PPIs can be taken if you get heartburn twice a week or more and they can be taken for up to 14 days.

Watch the video with Dr Carol Cooper for her tips and advice on treatment options to suit your needs and lifestyle.

WHEN TO VISIT THE PHARMACY

If you take Nexium Control treatment for 14 days and see no change in symptoms, consult your GP as soon as possible.

You should also seek medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Problems or pain when swallowing
  • Stomach pains or signs of indigestion such as nausea, fullness or bloating especially after food intake
  • Blood in vomit or stools
  • Severe or persistent diarrhoea
  • If you're over 55 with new or recently changed symptoms