What makes a good Christmas? Friends and family get-togethers, presents and those special festive foods which are delicious, look tempting and are almost impossible to resist.
Christmas comes once a year, so why shouldn’t you have turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, mince pies, cream, cheese, trifle, pork pie, chocolates, nuts and a glass or two? Well, a typical Christmas dinner will probably be 1,000 calories alone and the day’s intake could tot up to 6,000! All that food is hard to stomach and the most likely consequence is indigestion. When you eat, your stomach produces acid as part of the digestion process but this acid can sometimes irritate the lining of the stomach, the top part of the bowel or the oesophagus. Large amounts of food can also stretch the stomach causing acid reflux known as heartburn, so called because of the burning pain behind your breastbone. So, what can be done? Antacids – can provide immediate relief by neutralising stomach acid, which reduces irritation and discomfort. Alginates – are helpful with acid reflux and help prevent stomach acid getting into the oesophagus, causing heartburn. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) – these restrict the acid produced by the stomach and are taken as tablets. Formerly only available on prescription, but now in the pharmacy. H2-receptor antagonists – like PPIs used to be prescription-only, but some are now available over the counter from your pharmacy. They work by interacting with the stomach cells which release acid, lowering the acidity level in your stomach.
It’s definitely worth making sure that you ‘have something in’ for indigestion, especially at Christmas time. If you are taking prescribed medication, or suffer from a long-term condition, always speak to your pharmacist before buying. If you have persistent or recurring indigestion, you should seek advice from your GP.
If you do indulge, there’s always that New Year’s resolution to be more active – oh, and you’ll only have to walk for 21.5 hours to burn off those Christmas Day calories.
Have a Happy Christmas!