Acid reflux symptoms: Why your Christmas heartburn could lead to CANCER

Acid reflux - also known as heartburn - is a burning sensation in the chest triggered by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat.

The stomach acid may also cause an unpleasant sour taste in the month, according to the NHS.

One of the main causes of acid reflux is diet, and consuming lots of alcohol, chocolate, and fatty or spicy foods - as may be expected at Christmas - could set it off.

It is of course unpleasant, but acid reflux could also lead to something much more serious.

A new study has linked head and neck cancers in older adults to acid reflux.

Research published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology discovered an association between the common condition and cancers of the respiratory and upper digestive tracts, which account for 360,000 deaths globally each year.

Scientists believe acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) sets a process of cancer-causing inflammation off.

GERD is when acid reflux keeps happening, according to the NHS.

For the new study, researchers looked at 13,805 patients who were over 66 years and who had cancer of the respiratory and upper digestive tracts, and another 13,805 patients without cancer.

They linked GERD to cancer of the throat, tonsils and parts of the sinuses.

Acid reflux can also be caused by being overweight, smoking, pregnancy, stress and anxiety, some medicines like ibuprofen and hiatus hernia.

The NHS suggest making certain lifestyle changes to stop it happening.

Eating smaller, more frequent meals could help, as could losing weight if you are overweight and sleeping with your chest and head above waist level.

Nutritionist Lily Soutter also revealed her best recommendations to ensure acid reflux doesn’t affect sleep.

She suggested limiting alcohol before bed and enjoying herbal teas.

Additionally, minimising citrus juices and avoiding raw onion and garlic could also help.