Keeping the Holidays Heartburn-Free
You've just finished your holiday feast, the feet are up, and the TV is on. Nothing like a little relaxation. But then it begins, slowly at first, until it picks up steam and becomes full-blown, oh no, heartburn. What can you do to avoid it this year? Read on.
By Jeanie Lerche Davis
Reviewed By Michael Smith
What's the scene at your house after that massive holiday dinner? Some camped out in front of the football game, others napping? All that overeating and lounging around is certainly the downside to the holiday festivities -- and it's a sure-fire recipe for indigestion.
"People eat more than they would during the holidays, and they eat richer, fattier foods that are slow to empty in the stomach," says David Peura, MD, associate chief of gastroenterology at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville.
Peura is a spokesman for the National Heartburn Alliance, an organization dedicated to helping people find r-e-l-i-e-f.
Sitting around or napping after dinner -- watching football, the parades -- keeps all that food trapped. It may be relaxing, but lying down lets gravity give stomach acid an extra boost to creep into the esophagus. You know what happens next.
"Heartburn to most people is a burning discomfort under the breastbone," he tells WebMD. "It's the stomach feeling a need to vent."
Most cases of heartburn are brought on by foods high in fat. Chocolate, peppermint, citrus fruits, and tomato-based dishes also cause some people problems. Most drinks on the party circuit cause that rumbly-tumbly tummy, too.
To prevent heartburn, the National Heartburn Alliance offers these suggestions:
Instead of lying down after the big meal, take a walk with the family, Peura advises. "Go out and play a little football rather than sitting and watching it," he says.
By all means, if you're predisposed to heartburn, take one of the acid-lowering over-the-counter drugs, Peura tells WebMD. "And if you're on prescription medicine, this is not a time to forget taking it."
Originally published Dec. 3, 2001.
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