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Common Heartburn Myths

Foods that trigger heartburn

There are a number of myths when it comes to home remedies for curing heartburn, but not knowing all the facts could harm you more than it could help. By learning the truth behind these common heartburn myths, you can have a better understanding of how heartburn is caused and how you can properly treat it.

Myth #1:

Milk can help alleviate heartburn

You may have heard before that milk is good for heartburn – but in reality, milk may briefly mitigate any symptoms. Cow’s milk contains large amounts of fat, which can then trigger your stomach to produce more acid and worsen your heartburn. It’s recommended to avoid high fat dairy products, like whole milk or yogurt, if you are feeling any signs of heartburn.

Myth #2:

Apple cider vinegar can be a good heartburn remedy

There is a theory that heartburn can be caused by not having enough acid in your stomach. Some people use apple cider vinegar for heartburn as a means to increase acid to their system. However, those with an already irritated esophagus may not find drinking vinegar to be helpful. There is currently no robust data to support the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in relieving heartburn.

Myth #3:

Heartburn is only caused by eating greasy foods

Consuming fried or greasy food can certainly be a cause for why you are experiencing heartburn, but it may not be the only reason. Other foods that tend to cause heartburn are tomatoes, chocolate, citrus fruits, spicy food, onions, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages. Smoking can also trigger heartburn.

Myth #4:

Mints can help prevent heartburn

Another myth may suggest that consuming an after-dinner mint may help alleviate your heartburn but doing so can potentially worsen your symptoms. Peppermint can relax the sphincter muscle that closes off your stomach from your esophagus which, in turn, can cause your stomach to release acid back into your esophagus, making any heartburn you have feel worse.

Myth #5:

Baking soda can relieve heartburn symptoms

Sodium bicarbonate, the active ingredient in Baking Soda, is naturally produced in the human body to neutralize acid in the stomach. However, baking soda is not a standardized treatment and long-term use of it may have unwanted side effects.

Myth #6:

Heartburn only affects adults

While heartburn is more common in adults, children can also suffer from it. Heartburn in children can lead to poor eating and painful swallowing, so it is recommended to take them to see a pediatrician if they are showing any signs or symptoms.

Myth #7:

Heartburn is the sign of a heart attack or heart condition

If you feel pain in your chest, you may immediately wonder to yourself, “am I having heartburn or a heart attack?” While you may experience chest pains and similar symptoms in both scenarios, heartburn is a result of acid escaping from your stomach into your esophagus and isn’t related to your heart. If you are feeling any heart attack symptoms including heartburn with lightheadedness, sweating or dizziness, call 911.

Having heartburn occasionally may just be a result of what you’ve eaten, but if you notice it happening two or more days per week, this could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you are experiencing other symptoms along with your heartburn, such as nausea, vomiting, or a difficulty swallowing, this can be a sign of GERD, as well.

See what steps you can take to help prevent heartburn or what diet tips you can keep in mind. If you experience severe heartburn symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about treatment options.

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