Ever felt like your stomach is in a fiery uproar after a night out with friends? That nuisance of heartburn in your chest after a few drinks can throw a wrench in the evening’s festivities. But worry not! There is a wealth of crafty solutions and home fixes that can help extinguish that post-party burn and keep you in good spirits after merrymaking.

Why does drinking alcohol cause heartburn?

Alcohol can induce heartburn mostly because it affects the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) and the stomach lining. Here are the primary reasons:
  1. Relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES): The LES is a muscular ring that serves as a valve between the oesophagus and the stomach, preventing stomach acid from returning to the oesophagus. Alcohol can relax this sphincter, enabling stomach acid to reflux into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn.
  2. Increased stomach acid production: Alcohol can increase the formation of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid). Excess acid in the stomach is more prone to reflux into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn.
  3. Delayed stomach emptying: Alcohol could hinder the emptying of the stomach. When the stomach takes longer to empty, there is a higher risk of acid refluxing back into the oesophagus.
  4. Oesophageal muscle contractions: Alcohol can interfere with the natural contractions of the muscles of the oesophagus, contributing to acid reflux.
  5. Irritation of the oesophageal lining: Alcohol can directly irritate the delicate lining of the oesophagus due to its acidity. This inflammation might cause a burning feeling, which is typical of heartburn.
These characteristics, together, enhance the probability of feeling heartburn after drinking alcohol, particularly in people who are predisposed to acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

10 natural home remedies for heartburn after drinking alcohol

Here are some natural home treatments that may assist with heartburn after drinking alcohol:
  1. Water: Drink lots of water to neutralise stomach acid and flush it back into the stomach.
  2. Ginger: Ginger contains natural anti-inflammatory qualities that can aid with heartburn. You can eat a tiny piece of fresh ginger or sip ginger tea.
  3. Baking soda: Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and sip gently. Baking soda helps to neutralise gastric acid.
  4. Apple cider vinegar: Despite its acidity, apple cider vinegar can have an alkalizing impact on the body. Mix a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and sip gently.
  5. Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea helps soothe the stomach and relieve inflammation. Drink a cup of chamomile tea after a meal or when you have heartburn.
  6. Liquorice: Studies have indicated that deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL) can calm the stomach lining and prevent acid reflux. DGL is available in both chewable tablet and powder form.
  7. Bananas: Bananas are naturally low in acid and can assist in coating the stomach lining, protecting it from acid discomfort.
  8. Aloe vera: Aloe vera juice contains anti-inflammatory qualities that can calm the oesophagus and stomach. Drink a modest amount of aloe vera juice, but be cautious because excessive consumption may cause laxative symptoms.
  9. Elevate your head: If you get overnight heartburn, elevate your head and upper body with cushions to keep acid from refluxing into the oesophagus.
  10. Avoid trigger meals: Identify and avoid meals that cause heartburn in you, particularly after drinking alcohol. Spicy, citrus and fried meals are common triggers.

When should I consult a doctor?

Consult a doctor if you have frequent or severe heartburn (more than twice a week), difficulty swallowing, chest pain radiating to the jaw/neck/arm, persistent symptoms, nausea/vomiting, unintended weight loss, or a history of GERD or Barrett's oesophagus.  Also, seek medical advice if heartburn occurs after specific medications or if symptoms don't improve with lifestyle changes. 

Early examination aids in the diagnosis of underlying disorders such as GERD or oesophageal diseases, allowing for prompt treatment and preventing consequences.

Can a telehealth appointment with an online doctor help?

Yes, a telehealth meeting with an online doctor may be beneficial when addressing heartburn issues after drinking alcohol. Online physicians can offer advice, advocate lifestyle modifications, prescribe over-the-counter drugs, and determine whether additional examination or in-person consultation is required. They may also analyse your medical history and symptoms to make personalised suggestions, making telemedicine an appealing choice for early assessment and therapy of heartburn problems. For severe or chronic symptoms, they may recommend further testing or referrals to specialised treatment.

So, while these tricks and tweaks can assist in managing the aftermath of indulgence, remember to listen to your body and seek advice if heartburn keeps crashing your party. Whether it’s adjusting your drink choices, mastering your meal timing, or incorporating household cures, finding what works best for you ensures you can sip, savour and enjoy without the acid reflux making a comeback. 

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This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.