Heartburn is a burning sensation you get in your throat and chest and is a symptom of acid reflux. It is caused by stomach acid traveling up towards the throat.

Causes & Symptoms

Heartburn or Acid Reflux usually happens after meals, near bedtime or during the night and when you’re lying down largely because it doesn't take as much force for stomach acid to travel up the chest and throat.

Stomach acid helps us break down food. But as we age, our bodies are less adapted to keeping the acid from travelling up the body. That’s why you’re more likely to experience it later in life, though it can be triggered in young people too.

The symptoms of heartburn include:

  • A burning sensation in the chest or throat after eating.
  • A hot sour or salty tasting fluid in the back of your throat accompanied with difficulty swallowing.
  • Pressure behind the breastbone.
  • Feeling bloated.
  • Needing to burp.
  • Feeling sick.

In the majority of cases, heartburn is a natural response to stomach acid. But we understand how disruptive it can be, which is why we’ve identified foods that are best to avoid.

Which foods or eating practices cause heartburn?

  • Fried and greasy foods
  • Eating too much
  • Eating too quickly
  • Fatty meats and dairy products
  • Alcohol, caffeinated drinks and spicy food, which can all also cause the sphincter valve to open

Stress and excess weight are also contributing factors, so observing a careful diet and getting plenty of exercise will likely help. That said, you don’t have to put your life on hold because of heartburn - and we’re here to help.


Heartburn can have a huge impact on both your quality and quantity of sleep, with acid reflux most likely to occur around bedtime. Compounding this is the fact that lying down makes it easier for the acid to travel up your throat. What’s more, heavy meals before bed puts more pressure on your upper oesophageal sphincter valve, forcing it open.

  • Eating heavy meals. Keep your meals light and your portions small to lower your likelihood of heartburn.
  • Fatty foods. Foods high in fat can occasionally be culprits as well.
  • Stress and anxiety. Did you know that stress can cause an upset stomach? That’s because anxiety uses up our prostaglandins, lipids in our body that protect us from acid.
  • Drinking alcohol. Alcohol relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter (the muscles that protect you from acid). Plus, the greasy foods we enjoy alongside a drink don’t help matters either.
  • Smoking. Like alcohol, nicotine relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter, increasing the likelihood of acids refluxing (moving) up your stomach.

Lifestyle is always an important consideration. Quitting smoking, watching what you eat and taking steps to reduce stress are all effective measures. In the interim, Gaviscon is designed to help. Gaviscon creates a protective layer on top of your stomach acid that protects you from the potential harms of heartburn -- especially when you’re sleeping.


To stop acid from rising up and causing irritation, Gaviscon products use sodium alginate, a viscous formulation that forms a protective barrier in the stomach.

Dosage: Take 10-20 ml (Gaviscon Original) or 5-10 ml (Gaviscon Advance) after meals and at bedtime. Consider one teaspoon to equal 5 ml. 

For children 6 to 12 years: should only be taken on medical advice (Gaviscon Original & Advance).

All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe Gaviscon Range. If symptoms are severe or prolonged you should consult a doctor or pharmacist. Always read the label.

Repeat Sufferers

Repeatedly suffering from heartburn? Don’t let it put your life on pause


Our bodies use stomach acid to break down the contents of food, and we have a valve or “gate” in our oesophagus that keeps this acid in place. Occasionally, the acid will get through, and create the feeling of heartburn.

Sufferers often complain of discomfort after eating, or when lying down.

Older people tend to suffer from heartburn more often, as the valve gets weaker with age.

Suffering from heartburn regularly? Dealing with a burning feeling in your chest after eating? You might have what’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GORD.

GORD presents symptoms indistinguishable from heartburn and indigestion, but occurs at a frequency that is chronic.

In such a case, you should consult with a doctor immediately. GORD can cause you to develop ulcers and it can even restrict your breathing, so a professional’s advice is required.

The good news is that GORD can be effectively treated over time, and tweaks to the food and drinks you consume can limit the discomfort.