Lets Talk: Heartburn & Indigestion

Did you just make the mistake of entering that Burrito eating competition? Well, have no fear, we are about to discuss those agonising symptoms you were feeling during that dreadful night.

Heartburn is a feeling of burning pain or discomfort in the chest, usually after eating. This occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the oesophagus and irritates the lining of the oesophagus.

Indigestion, which can commonly cause heartburn, is an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach and is usually related to eating and drinking. Another cause of heartburn is GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), which is repeated reflux of stomach acid, causing inflammation and damage to the lining of the oesophagus. GORD is a serious condition that requires you to seek medical attention.

Helpful tips:

  • Eat less fatty and spicy food (yes you heard me, no more dares)
  • Eat smaller meals, slowly
  • Drink less alcohol and caffeine
  • Always swallow medicines with a glass of water


There are medicines available to both prevent and relieve symptoms of indigestion and heartburn. Our Friendlies pharmacists are perfectly positioned to advise on the best medicine for you, and whether you should see a doctor.

Antacids (eg. Mylanta) help neutralise stomach acid and are used for quick relief of occasional symptoms.

Alginates (eg. Gaviscon) form a coating on top of your stomach contents, which can reduce reflux.

H2 antagonists (eg. Ranitidine) and Proton Pump Inhibitors (eg. Esomeprazole) reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach, and so help prevent indigestion and heartburn.

Please talk to your doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You are over 50 years and it’s the first time you have experienced symptoms
  • Heartburn or pain wakes you up at night
  • You experience heartburn or indigestion on more than 1 day a week
  • It is hard or painful to swallow
  • You have lost weight and not sure why
  • You vomit and it looks like coffee grounds, or has blood in it

So, happy eating, but do take it easy on that Chilli.