Heartburn Video

My Frequent Heartburn: Education Video Series

Learn About Frequent Heartburn with Dr. Frank McGeorge

You might experience heartburn symptoms, but you might not know exactly what heartburn is. Join Dr. Frank McGeorge as he explores how to identify and protect against heartburn.

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Video 6 of 9: How to Reduce the Causes of Heartburn When Dining Out (3:34)

Know what to order and which questions to ask your server when you go out for a meal—information is your best dining companion.

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If you suffer from heartburn, eating out can be a challenge. What ingredients did they use, how was the meal prepared, can I ask for my meal to be cooked differently? Hi, I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC, and today we’re going to talk about things you can do to dramatically alleviate, if not eliminate, your chance of heartburn after eating in a restaurant—the sixth video in this series. We’re going to start by identifying questions you can ask about your food that will help you avoid heartburn. Then we’ll discuss portions and what preparation styles are the most heartburn friendly. Just like at home, eating certain foods might trigger heartburn and need to be avoided. Be careful if you’re eating out; restaurant menus can be deceiving. So first, ask questions to help avoid heartburn, and don’t be shy; knowledge is your belly’s friend. Your server should be able to give you key information about your meal so you can make smart, well-informed choices. One of the best questions a heartburn sufferer can ask is, “How is this dish prepared?” This tidbit of information is critical because dishes are often prepared differently than you might think. For example, steakhouses sometimes broil steaks in butter, so even though it’s broiled, it’s still more likely to trigger heartburn. Simply asking the question can help you avoid traps like these. In general, it’s best to order your dishes grilled or broiled without butter rather than fried or sautéed. And, if the dish comes with a high-fat gravy or sauce, ask for it to be served on the side. Now, soda crackers, preferably unsalted, are bland, they digest easily, and they absorb stomach acid well. They also contain bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, which neutralize the acid. Next, watch your portions. Restaurant portions tend to be much larger than recommended serving sizes. Take this, for example: The restaurant dish is actually twice the size of a proper serving. Any extra bites increase pressure on the stomach and cause acidic juices to splash back up into the esophagus. If portion control isn’t your strong suit, ask to split your entrée with a friend, or try eating only half of what you ordered, and take the other half home. You might even want to ask the waiter to portion off half to take home before it even gets to your table. Plan ahead. Most menus can be viewed online, so don’t leave your decision until the last minute; you have a much greater likelihood of making a smart decision when you’re not under pressure. Now, for a few things on the menu that someone with heartburn can safely order: Leaner cuts of red meat, like sirloin or filet mignon, can help avoid heartburn, as opposed to T-bone or prime rib; white wine instead of red; and lighter desserts like angel food cake. Now, another tip is to have herbal tea after dinner instead of caffeine or a heavy dessert. Sage is a wonderful belly-soothing remedy, which can relieve stomach weakness that allows acid to be released back up into the esophagus. Drinking chamomile tea after meals can also relieve esophageal irritation. Remember, pay special attention to what you order; ask questions; watch portions; plan ahead. If, however, you’re doing all the right things and you’re still experiencing heartburn two or more days a week, you may have frequent heartburn, in which case, you should talk to your doctor. I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC.

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