The holidays offer us a wide variety of dishes with tomato sauces, cheeses, breads, sweets, tamales, puddings and also a tempting variety of drinks. However, with the excesses that occur at this time, some symptoms could come, such as gastroesophageal reflux, that is, the sensation when stomach contents or acids are returned to the esophagus, which can irritate the swallowing tube, cause heartburn and other symptoms such as a burning sensation in the chest, epigastric pain – which could even be confused with a heart attack – nausea, vomiting and even difficulty swallowing.
This was explained by Dr. Estefanía Ortega, a doctor from the Clínicas sin Fronteras Foundation, who specified that poor eating habits impact digestive health, in this case gastroesophageal reflux, indicated by patients as heartburn or heartburn, which for a time like Easter can be triggered by very abundant meals, consumption of spicy foods, caffeine, processed foods, citrus fruits, tobacco and alcoholic beverages.
“The big problem is that at the moment of enjoyment we forget that the consequences come later. The fact of changing eating habits for these short periods alters our different systems, especially the digestive one”, stressed Dr. Estefanía Ortega.
Recommendations to avoid this malady:
- When symptoms are more than twice a week, it is important to see your doctor
- An adequate medical diagnosis with the clinical history and the respective examinations is key
- Avoid self-medication
- Eat five meals a day instead of three large meals
- Avoid processed foods and citrus
- Avoid condiments and excess fat
- Reduce consumption of tomato sauces
- Sleep with your head elevated
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco
- Reduce consumption of carbonated beverages
- The last meal of the day should be three hours before going to bed.
- Have a gastroscopy to assess for reflux, esophagitis, or chronic gastritis
- Remember to drink plenty of water and do physical activity
A significant number
It is estimated that 20 to 40% of the adult population in the Western world suffers from heartburn. The problem is that frequent exposure to acid can cause irritation, inflammation, ulcers and bleeding, in addition to other diseases such as esophagitis, peptic ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus, in which there is a high risk of developing esophageal cancer.
It is convenient to keep in mind that most people experience heartburn from time to time, but if the symptoms occur more than twice a week, it is necessary to consult a doctor, since it could be suffering from reflux and it will be necessary to detect it in time.
About Clinicas sin Frontera
Clinicas sin Fronteras is a non-profit social welfare organization that for more than 20 years has been committed to offering high-quality health services at affordable prices for the entire population of the country and currently has more than 20 offices and more of 35 medical and dental specialties throughout Costa Rica.