There is a lot of misleading information about heartburn, what it could mean, and how to treat it. To better understand heartburn, read below to learn about what’s fact and what’s fiction.
1. Is a glass of milk a good remedy for heartburn?
- MYTH: Your mother or grandmother might have recommended taking a glass of milk to cure your heartburn, but scientific studies have established that heavy milk or cream reduces heartburn symptoms temporarily only to later increase acid production in the stomach. More acid, more heartburn.
2. Elevating your head while you sleep helps reduce heartburn.
- FACT: Elevating the head of your bed can be an effective therapy to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn. Try using plastic or wooden bed-risers to support the bedposts, changing the incline of the head of your bed. You can also buy a therapeutic bed wedge pillow that slips under your head, that also increases your upper body angle. Make sure that the height of the elevation is at least 6-8 inches or it will not be effective.
3. Do after-dinner mints offer a soothing way to drift off to sleep?
- MYTH: Bedtime mints combine three common heartburn triggers: chocolate, mint, and lying down, which are more likely to cause heartburn than to suppress it.
4. Is heartburn a result of a heart condition?
- MYTH: Heartburn is caused by the acidic fluid in the stomach washing up into the esophagus. It is not caused by a heart condition. If you have any chest pains that last for more than a few minutes, or any warning signs of a heart attack like pain spreading to the arms, neck, or shoulders, shortness of breath, sweating, or lightheadedness, call your doctor immediately.
5. Is heartburn a fact of life I have to learn to live with?
- MYTH: People with heartburn don’t have to suffer in silence. Changes in diet and lifestyle as well as a fast growing range of heartburn medications can provide relief to most people with heartburn. In fact, some over-the-counter medications can actually prevent heartburn. H2 blockers reduce acid for up to 12 hours, whereas Proton Pump Inhibitors like Prilosec OTC shut down many acid pumps to provide 24 hours of symptom relief. Zero heartburn* with just one pill a day, but it may take 1-4 days for full effect.