Care’s expert pharmacist, Karen Baker, reveals how to help the nation beat Heartburn

As pharmacists are relied upon more and more by customers, their knowledge of the most common of conditions is required frequently. One of the more common ailments the nation suffers with is heartburn, affecting up to 25% of UK adults[1].

With it becoming more important than ever for pharmacists to be seen as reliable and trustworthy, what are the heartburn facts teams should have in their armoury, to ensure they come across as knowledgeable? Having worked in the industry for over 29 years, we sat down with our expert pharmacist, Karen Baker, who reveals the ‘need to know’ facts on the most frequently asked Heartburn questions.

Question: What is heartburn?

Karen Baker explains: “Heartburn is a burning chest pain felt at the lowest end of the breastbone in the centre of the chest. The discomfort often rises upwards and outwards. It is extremely common, affecting up to 1 in every 4 adults in the UK. It can sometimes reach all the way up to the throat, or be felt deeply within the chest, and some patients notice discomfort when swallowing, and cough and choke more frequently.”

Question: What causes heartburn?

Karen Baker advises: “The bottom of the oesophagus has a muscular ring (sphincter) which joins it to the stomach and controls the opening between them ensuring that the flow is one way. Acid reflux happens when this one-way system fails, and is where some stomach contents, including gastric acid, back up into the oesophagus. The stomach can resist the acid but if sufficient amount gets into the oesophagus, it can cause pain.”

Question: Is there any foods I should avoid if I suffer with heartburn?

Karen suggests: “Heartburn can be worse after large or rich meals, those higher in fats and those that contain tomato, chocolate, or spicy foods. Drinks such as citrus fruit juice, hot drinks, fizzy drinks, or alcohol are more likely to trigger symptoms.”

Question: If I suffer with heartburn, what advice do you suggest?

Karen said: “If you have tried lifestyle changes and pharmacy medicines but they are not helping, you need to see your GP.

“You must also see your GP if you have heartburn, indigestion, hiccups, or an unpleasant taste in your mouth most days for three weeks or more. Also, if you are frequently sick, have unintentional weight loss, or find that food is getting stuck in your oesophagus or swallowing is painful.”

Question: Are there any lifestyle changes you recommend?

If eliminating food triggers from your diet doesn’t relieve your symptoms, you can try making some simple lifestyle changes:

“Eat smaller meals or slow down when you’re eating. When it comes to drinks, drinking warm, caffeine-free beverages, like herbal tea may also reduce the risk of heartburn. You should also avoid exercising too soon after eating and leave at least 3 to 4 hours between eating and lying down or going to bed.

Karen continues: “Alcohol can also have an impact on heartburn, this is due to alcohol encouraging the production of stomach acid, making the oesophagus more sensitive to this acid too – increasing the chances of getting heartburn. If you are experiencing heartburn symptoms and are struggling to pinpoint the issue, reducing alcohol intake may help.”

Question: Why does heartburn come on at night?

Karen comments: “Heartburn can happen at any time of day. Gravity helps to pull food down through the digestive tract away from the oesophagus, however at night – when lying down – gravity does not pull food away from the oesophagus, allowing food to more easily come into contact with the sphincter and making reflux more likely.

“Also, some body positions can put more pressure on the oesophageal sphincter, making reflux more common. This includes at night when lying down and stooping or bending forwards.

“Raising the head end of your bed by 10-20cm so your chest and head are above the level of your waist can stop reflux. Also avoid eating within 3 hours before going to bed and lie on your left side, which can reduce reflux due to the anatomy of the stomach and oesophageal sphincter.”

If you are suffering from heartburn, reach for the NEW Care Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension[2]. Trusted and recommended by HCPs and pharmacists, Care Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension provides relief from heartburn and acid indigestion, alleviating the painful conditions resulting from the reflux of gastric acid and bile into the oesophagus, and works by suppressing the reflux itself.











[2] Care Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension 500ml provides relief from heartburn and acid indigestion. It alleviates the painful conditions resulting from the reflux of gastric acid and bile into the oesophagus by suppressing the reflux itself. It is indicated in heartburn, including heartburn of pregnancy, dyspepsia associated with gastric reflux, hiatus hernia, reflux oesophagitis, regurgitation and all cases of epigastric and retrosternal distress where the underlying cause is gastric reflux. Care Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension 500ml, contains Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Alginate, Calcium Carbonate. GSL, Pinewood Laboratories Ltd.

Information about this product, including adverse reactions, precautions, contra-indications, and method of use can be found at:

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