Shiva Seethal

Heartburn and the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and for many, it is a time of indulgence as well as celebration. At such times, heartburn and acid reflux can become more of a problem for folks who suffer from these chronically, or even for those who do not. Heartburn is a symptom caused by stomach acid irritating the lining of the stomach and esophagus. This may be due to excessive acid production as well as the passage of acid up into the esophagus (hence the term “reflux”). There are certain conditions and foods that can worsen these symptoms.

  • Alcohol – in any form
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppermints

If this list seems like no fun, take hope, there are some common tricks and medications that can help alleviate symptoms. First, moderation is perhaps your most useful tool in mitigating the harmful effects of these foods and beverages. Indulge carefully and avoid attacks. Secondly, if you do suffer with acid reflux, be sure to take your medication appropriately as it will help to limit symptoms. If you plan to indulge in alcoholic drinks later on, perhaps skip the daytime coffee – the cumulative effects can be fearsome. Always eat when consuming alcohol as well; this is good advice for multiple reasons. Also, consider the type of drink carefully – beer, wine or cocktails with fruit juices are higher in acid content. Conversely, drinks with milk or cream such as egg-nog can have soothing effects.
When all else fails, keep some ginger candy handy. Ginger is a natural source of relief for dyspepsia and heartburn. Antacids work just as well.
Have a great holiday and New Year!
Dr Seetahal is a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon. He has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. For questions related to surgical health, you can contact him at, or call his office at 863-421-7626 to schedule an appointment

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