Indigestion or heartburn?

Monday, April 29th, 2019

We have all been familiar at one time or another with those feelings of indigestion, ‘heart burn’ or acid reflux, however I wanted to write about this condition because I see a common thread in my clinic. Firstly, lets look at the two most common presentations:

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or acid reflux.

This is a common condition, where stomach acid comes back up into your mouth and causes an unpleasant, sour taste. If this is happening regularly, your GP may suggest further investigations to see if you have a hiatus hernia – where part of your stomach moves up into your chest and this affects the natural retention of acid within the stomach.

Indigestion and ‘heart burn’

Assuming you are not suffering with a serious cardio vascular condition, this uncomfortable feeling can be caused by factors such as eating shortly before going to bed, stress, poor diet and alcohol. When I ask my patients what they drink before going to bed, a surprising number drink squash of some kind, tea or a fizzy drink. Lying on your back or side with these liquids washing around your stomach may well irritate your stomach lining and leave you more prone to Indigestion and ‘heart burn’.

Commonly prescribed medications for acid reflux, Indigestion and ‘heart burn’ include Omeprazole and Lansoprazole which are called proton pump inhibitors.

Mint – An alternative for Indigestion and ‘heart burn’?

I have suggested the following simple, soothing night-time drink to many patients who’s reaction ranges from ‘you must be joking’ to ‘is that like the herbal tea bags?’ – well, no, I’m not joking and its nothing like the herbal teabags, so why not give it a go!

Put 4 leaves of fresh mint (not peppermint) into a cup
Add freshly boiled water and bruise the leaves lightly with a teaspoon. Sip either hot or cold. And for breakfast …

A small bowl of porridge (e.g. Flahavans etc.)

Made with Soya or Almond milk and sweetened with honey depending on your sugar tolerance. Follow this for a week and see if that ‘heart burn’ feeling starts to ease.