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Home > Health Zone > Embarrassing Issues > The help available for treating indigestion and heart burn at the pharmacy

The help available for treating indigestion and heart burn at the pharmacy

Recently I've been suffering from stomach ache, bloating and feeling a bit sickly after meals. So I thought I'd pop down to the pharmacy for advice. I expect it's from putting too much spice in my curries!

First of all the pharmacist advised me that normally indigestion is nothing to worry about because it's very common and there's a variety of reasons why it occurs. This can include (as I suspected!) fried or spicy food, eating too much, a reaction to painkillers and the usual suspects - stress, being overweight, alcohol and smoking.

The pharmacist told me that these factors can cause stomach acid to escape up the gullet, causing pain in the upper abdomen (just under the rib cage) and the burning sensation known as 'heart burn' (even though it has nothing to do with the heart).

To treat my indigestion and heartburn the pharmacist recommended I tried antacid tablets (like Gaviscon or Rennie) to neutralise the excess stomach acid and coat my stomach with a protective gel to prevent acid leaking. Had I been taking aspirin or ibuprofen then we would have also advised me to switch to paracetamol. I also need to be careful not to take them at the same time as other medication because they can interfere with how the body absorbs them.

As always, lifestyle changes can also help reduce heart burn and indigestion, such as stop smoking, losing weight and eating a healthier diet - all of which you can get help for at your local pharmacy:)

Useful links

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/indigestion1.shtml

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/ate/digestiveandurinary/201956.html

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/indigestion/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antacid-medicines/Pages/Definition.aspx

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