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3 Myths about Heartburn

By: , – Maria Masters, Family Circle
2/26/2013 6:00 AM   :  24 comments   :  17,602 Views

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Myth #1: You should avoid spices.

Reality - "Seasonings won't necessarily cause acid reflux," says Douglas Adler, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah. "The real culprits are usually acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes, which are used in spicy meals." Other offenders are caffeine (don't forget it's in chocolate too) and peppermint.
 
Myth #2: You'll only feel a burning in your chest.

Reality - Difficulty swallowing, a cough and a hoarse voice are other signs of acid reflux, says Vivek Kaul, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. If your throat feels funny after eating acidic foods, try antacids, not cough drops. 
 
Myth #3: You don't need to see a doctor.

Reality - Talk to your M.D. if you're taking OTC meds more than twice a week or for more than two weeks in a row. Untreated, chronic heartburn may damage your throat and eventually lead to esophageal cancer. An M.D. can write you a prescription or suggest dietary tweaks.
 
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
 
More from Family Circle:
 What is your experience with heartburn? What has surprised you?
 


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Comments

  • 24
    Cut out wheat and other grains. Heartburn magically goes away.

    I used to blame the tomato sauce in pizza and spaghetti but now realize it was the bread and pasta that messes up your stomach and your guts. - 10/23/2013   8:09:52 PM
  • 23
    For years I used to believe that having spicy foods accelerates heartburn. Maybe I would need to do more research in this regard. - 5/8/2013   9:54:15 AM
  • 22
    My DH doesn't have much heartburn or acid reflux anymore - he switched to a (mostly) gluten-free diet last July and has only had acid reflux when he has eaten a meal with a lot of gluten since. He's stubborn about what he eats and was the last person to even consider that gluten-free would help him. He figured it out by accident - He started by not eating buns with his hamburgers as a way to cut calories. At home, we were cooking gluten-free meals to help my youngest daughter who found that gluten was causing her problems in other ways. After a while, he realized that he wasn't having acid reflux except when he ate a lot of gluten in a day. Now he tries to stay away from (not quite 100%) but knows he risks bad nights of acid reflux if he gets too much. - 3/14/2013   9:09:03 AM
  • 21
    I always had acid reflux, and heartburn for years. i was on different things and ended up on Nexium. Last spring I went on a Gluetin free diet, and ever since, I've not had any heartburn, at all. I'm off meds. for heartburn, and get along much better. I'm fitter, more energetic, and happier. - 2/28/2013   8:37:58 PM
  • 20
    Acid reflux can also cause damage to the vocal cords. Singers have to be very aware of this. It can limit or possibly end your singing career. - 2/28/2013   10:39:20 AM
  • MAILLGAW
    19
    SIMPLE SOLUTION... When I feel heartburn I grab a handful of fresh PARSLEY which I keep wrapped in paper towel and then in a plastic bag (for a week or more)
    and chew and eat it and all symptoms go away within minutes!!!! Much better
    than antacid. I can then eat anything I like. Best Wishes, Maillgaw - 2/28/2013   8:42:58 AM
  • VANANDEL
    18
    A woman who lives in our complex had such bad heartburn and acid reflux that she can no longer eat solid foods, only liquids or pureed foods. So it's really important to take to heart the advice to seek medical assistance! - 2/27/2013   7:23:29 PM
  • 17
    Obesity is a factor in heartburn. - 2/27/2013   6:33:07 PM
  • 16
    Sorry, this double-posted. - 2/27/2013   10:40:14 AM
  • 15
    Nearly everyone I know who has limited the grains in their diet, particularly wheat, has seen their reflux magically cease. Don't medicate; remove the cause instead. This is NOT your grandparents' strain of wheat. It's a dwarf hybrid that was developed to feed the third world and was bred for yield, NOT nutrition.

    Try it for a week - what have you got to lose except a lot of pain and pills? - 2/27/2013   10:40:14 AM
  • 14
    Obesity is a factor as well. - 2/27/2013   9:22:02 AM
  • 13
    The hubby has had acid reflux and heart burn for years and always thought it was caused by tomato sauce and chocolate. When he stopped eating most bread and other gluten products, his acid reflux and heart burn subsided. He still eats some bread but limits it, especially in the evening. - 2/27/2013   6:15:19 AM
  • 12
    I have had success with Bragg's Vinegar with the Mother in it. I put a 1/2 tsp in my water bottle, and in my glass of water at the dinner table. I try to have it regularly and it does help. You can google it and learn more. I do not know of any studies that prove it but I had been desperate for a remedy and this has helped.
    - 2/27/2013   2:31:40 AM
  • 11
    Acidic foods do not cause heartburn. Heartburn is caused by a failure by the body to keep food and acid within the stomach. It is a physical failure of the body. That being said, overeating and overfilling the stomach, gastric bypass, gastroparesis, hiatal hernia, and a failure of the esophageal sphincter all cause severe heartburn/GERD and changing what you eat will not make a big difference. Also, medications like tagamet and pepcid ac cause damage to the stomach which will eventually make GERD worse and can cause permanent damage to the stomach. PPIs are more effective for continuing treatment and should be taken under the guidance of a GI specialist, not a PCP. - 2/26/2013   10:11:31 PM
  • 10
    the apple cider one is new to me. Never too many to try when you get bad heartburn - 2/26/2013   8:46:29 PM
  • 9
    Apple Cider Vinegar Is Good For Many Things And I Take It For Any Stomach Issues. NO Side Effects! Thanks For The Blog! - 2/26/2013   8:11:53 PM
  • PRUSSIANETTE
    8
    Tight fitting undergarments can also exacerbate the condition. I have much fewer problems now that I have bras that fit. :) - 2/26/2013   12:23:24 PM
  • 7
    The biggest downside is that the doctors we have around here are more likely to prescribe you something than suggest dietary changes--they do the same thing for diabetics! I've found that sugar, believe it or not, is a huge trigger food for me, and keeping my sugar intake under control and drinking lots of water has been the best help for me. - 2/26/2013   10:43:06 AM
  • IDOL559
    6
    Apple cider vinegar does seen to calm it down. For me, the caffeine and fried foods really make my acid reflux bad. Spicy foods sometimes hurt but not seasonings - 2/26/2013   10:05:08 AM
  • 5
    When I logged on I really surprised by featured topic. I had serious heart burn at 4 a.m. It felt like I was gonna die. My throat and upper stomach was burning, my stomach was gurgling and I could hardly breath and swallow. I almost freaked out and called an ambulance. After I sat up and breathed deeply (stress technique), I felt well enough to try and sleep. I had 2 slices of mushroom, spinach, and garlic pizza for lunch. Then I had approx 1 cup of lentil beans with tomatoes and brown rice for dinner. I will def rethink what I eat. - 2/26/2013   9:36:33 AM
  • 4
    Interesting - 2/26/2013   9:32:43 AM
  • 3
    Can anyone confirm that information about the apple cider vinegar? Can you point to a study that I can read? - 2/26/2013   9:04:56 AM
  • 2
    My dentist told me that chronic acid reflux damages your teeth. That convinced me to start taking the prescription GERD meds I was given after I had my gall bladder out. I feel so much better. - 2/26/2013   8:18:42 AM
  • 1
    To avoid heartburn, take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar (Bragg's with 'The Mother' is best) in water about 1/2 before meals.It will coat your stomach allowing for faster and more complete digestion of your food, taking away your heartburn/acid indigestion. Read up on the benefits of apple cider vinegar. You'll be surprised! - 2/26/2013   6:12:02 AM

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