Managing Holiday Indigestion
Heidi Rula, MD
Medical Director of the Supportive Care Services Department
The holidays are upon us and for many, these gatherings of family and friends (likely a little smaller group this year in the face of COVID), can mean not only an overindulgence of food and drink but also a time of increased stress- a classic set up for heartburn. Many cancer patients also experience heartburn as a result of their cancer treatments.
Most people have experienced heartburn sometime in their life. It is estimated that 15% of the population will have heartburn at least once a week and 7% of people will have it daily. Heartburn is generally experienced as a burning discomfort under the breastbone that usually is the result of stomach acid backing up into the esophagus from a relaxation of the sphincter that connects the esophagus to the stomach. This can occur from stress, the use of certain medications, and various foods.