Do you find yourself reaching for the antacids every time you finish a meal, plagued by the uncomfortable sensation caused by heartburn every time you finish a meal? If so, you’re not alone. 

Heartburn after eating is a common complaint, and its causes can vary from person to person. Understanding why you experience heartburn after eating is the first step to finding relief and improving your overall digestive health.

Dr. Oforbuike Ewelukwa is our board-certified gastroenterology specialist at Imperial Digestive Health Specialists PLLC who provides comprehensive digestive care for his patients. Here’s what he wants you to know about heartburn:

Understanding heartburn

One of the primary reasons for post-meal heartburn is a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In GERD, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) — a muscular valve that separates your esophagus from your stomach — becomes weakened or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach acid to flow back into your esophagus. 

This acid reflux can lead to the burning sensation commonly associated with heartburn. 

Causes of heartburn

Certain foods and drinks, such as spicy or acidic foods, carbonated beverages, and caffeine, can exacerbate GERD symptoms by further irritating your esophagus.

You can also develop heartburn by overeating or consuming large meals. When you overeat, your stomach becomes overly full, putting pressure on your LES and increasing the likelihood of acid reflux. 

Lying down or bending over after eating can also contribute to acid reflux by allowing stomach acid to travel more easily into your esophagus.

In some cases, certain dietary habits may contribute to persistent heartburn, such as eating too quickly or eating late at night, which can hinder proper digestion. 

Eating meals high in fat or grease can also slow down digestion and prolong the time it takes for your stomach to empty, leading to a higher likelihood of acid reflux occurring.

Aside from dietary factors, lifestyle choices like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can play a role in triggering heartburn after eating. Both smoking and alcohol can relax your LES and stimulate the production of stomach acid, making it easier for acid reflux to occur.

If you experience frequent heartburn after eating, you can make simple changes to your lifestyle and diet to help provide relief. For example, eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than large ones, and avoid trigger foods and beverages like spicy meals, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks. 

You should also do your best to maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking, and limit your alcohol intake to improve your digestive health and reduce the incidence of heartburn.

When to seek medical attention

If lifestyle modifications alone aren’t sufficient to alleviate your heartburn symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Ewelukwa for a comprehensive evaluation. He can provide personalized recommendations and treatment, if necessary, to help manage your symptoms effectively.

Dr. Ewelukwa empowers you to take control of your digestive health. By making simple adjustments to your diet and lifestyle, you can minimize the frequency and severity of heartburn episodes, allowing you to enjoy your meals without discomfort.

If you suffer from heartburn and haven’t had success with eliminating its symptoms, call our friendly staff at Imperial Digestive Health Specialists PLLC in Katy, Texas, today to schedule a visit with Dr. Ewelukwa. You can also click here to book online.

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