Weak lower oesophageal muscles which may also relax too often allow the acid to get into the oesophagus. When the lining of the oesophagus comes in contact with too much of acid from the stomach oesophagus it is injured and produces burning pain. This result is heartburn.

You can prevent heartburn by doing the following things:

• Avoid large meals
• Avoid high fatty food
• It is better to drink a small glass of water at the end of the meal to wash down the acid which might be splashing up into the oesophagus.
• High fibre foods reduce heartburn
• You can drink heartburn friendly beverages like water, mineral water, low fat milk and juices of noncitrus fruits. Decaffeinated tea also helps. Soda, citrus fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea and cola can increase the acid production in the stomach and also to relax the lower oesophageal muscle.
• Fat around the midsection of the body is also a risk factor which can press the stomach and send the acid upwards.
• Chocolate, coffee, alcohol, fatty foods, tomato, citrus fruits and their juices, hot chilli and black pepper must be avoided.
• Chewing gum with no peppermint flavour helps to produce more saliva and the bicarbonate present there can neutralise the acid.
• Avoid alcohol and smoking.
• Give enough time between meals
• Exercises which differ from individual to individual may help to decrease the heartburn.
• Avoid lying down two to three hours after eating; otherwise it can help the acid splash upwards.

Three heavy meals and frequently eating do not ease heartburn. A small meal is advisable. Heavy meal means more acid reflux and small meal means less acid reflux.

When you sleep your pillow must be six to eight inches higher when you lie down so that the head is elevated and a peaceful sleep may be possible.