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What is Heartburn?

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What is heartburn?

Frequent heartburn is a symptom of gastro-oesophageal reflux and can cause a burning pain in the chest rising up to the throat. Heartburn is caused by food and acid from the stomach washing back into the oesophagus that can also result in an unpleasant sour taste
(acid regurgitation)1.

What causes heartburn?

The common symptoms of heartburn

Heartburn is different for everyone, but it normally involves burning pain and related discomfort. You might have one or more of these signs.

Physical symptoms

  • A burning pain in the chest area, the back of
    the throat or along the oesophagus1
  • Disturbances to sleep2,3
  • A sour or unpleasant taste or fluid in the
    back of the throat or mouth1.

Psychological effects2,4,6

  • Feeling preoccupied with setting off heartburn again
  • Irritation or frustration over frequent burning pain and how it affects your life.

Warning Symptoms

Tell your pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Nexium® 24HR. If symptoms persist or recur within 2 weeks of completing the course or if you experience any of the following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately:

  • Check pains with light-headedness, sweating, dizziness or shoulder pain with shortness of breath
  • Vomiting food or blood
  • Pass black stools
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Pain or other problems swallowing
  • Pain or signs of indigestion such as nausea or bloated feeling after eating
  • You are over 55 and have new or recently changed reflux symptoms
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Frequent heartburn

This is heartburn that occurs two or more times a week. It’s more common than you might think: Approximately 1.6M of Australian adult heartburn sufferers have frequent heartburn. It can take a huge toll on your work and social life, by robbing you of a good night's sleep or spoiling the pleasure of your favourite mealtime. No wonder many people with frequent heartburn long to get it under control4.

As well as the physical symptoms, frequent heartburn sufferers may experience:

  • Reduced vitality as well as frustration over the frequent pain and disruption heartburn can bring6.
  • A tendency to limit the things they enjoy, especially food and drink choices4.
  • Sleep disruption2.

Heartburn triggers

As heartburn is different for everyone, there is a wide range of possible triggers. You might even find you have different triggers at different times, especially if you get heartburn frequently. It can help to keep notes for a few weeks, to work out what sparks heartburn for you and when.

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Spicy/acidic food can trigger heartburn. Or it could be rich or fatty foods or chocolate. Simply eating a big meal, or eating too late at night, can bring it on.

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Alcohol or fizzy drinks can trigger heartburn. Drink moderate amounts and avoid lying down after drinking.

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Smoking can trigger heartburn or make it feel worse once it starts. Smoking weakens the valve between your stomach and your oesophagus, allowing acid to leak upwards, plus it can cause you to produce more acid.

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Stress and fatigue

Lack of sleep and stress
can all trigger heartburn by
putting strain on your body,
especially if you’re prone to it

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Do not take Nexium® 24HR
if you are pregnant unless
your doctor says so.

Hormonal changes can weaken
the valve between your stomach
and oesophagus, letting acid leak
upwards. Your changing shape
can also increase pressure on that
valve and your stomach, making
heartburn more likely7.

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Carrying extra weight can put
pressure on your oesophageal
valve and on your stomach,
allowing acid to rise up into your

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can help manage your heartburn.

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Think about what and when you eat and drink

Avoid foods or drinks that trigger heartburn for you – but also think about when and how much you eat. Cut out bedtime snacks or large meals late at night. Eat slowly and wait before lying down or exercising. Cutting down on alcohol, coffee or fizzy drinks can also help.

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Quit smoking

Smoking can trigger heartburn or
make it feel worse once it starts.
If you do smoke, try avoiding it
just before or after eating.

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Exercise regularly/ keep fit

Regular exercise and losing
weight can often help. Though
certain abdominal exercises like
stomach crunches can also push
acid out of the stomach, causing heartburn.

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If you get heartburn frequently and lifestyle changes aren't enough,
learn more about how Nexium® 24HR can help.

Why Nexium® 24HR?

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Take control of your heartburn

Start your challenge today