Heartburn myths, home remedies, and “cures” may actually worsen your symptoms and lead to more serious health problems. That’s why separating fact from fiction is essential when it comes to treating and managing heartburn.
Does milk help heartburn? Can you use apple cider vinegar for heartburn? Does peppermint offer relief? These are just some questions many people have when it comes to finding heartburn relief, especially when they are not using over-the-counter medicines. However, well-intentioned myths like these can actually be so misleading that they prevent you from finding real, effective solutions for lasting relief. Read on to learn more about the truths behind common myths that surround heartburn.
HEARTBURN RELIEF MYTHS
Milk Calms Heartburn Symptoms
Studies that examine the effects of certain foods on acid reflux show that this claim isn’t true. Milk is actually found to be a common heartburn trigger alongside spicy foods, fried foods, and alcohol, because pasteurized cow’s milk is slightly acidic.
Vinegar Is Safe for Heartburn Relief
On the contrary, vinegars, including apple cider vinegar (ACV) are acids. Though some people believe that fermented vinegar contains healthy bacteria that improves digestion, doctors don’t recommend using ACV or any other vinegar to treat heartburn. In fact, the extra acid may promote additional burning and irritation of the esophagus in those who already suffer from heartburn.
Alkaline Water Can Help Relieve Heartburn
Some evidence shows that alkaline water can deactivate an enzyme in the body related to the production of stomach acid. However, the soothing effects felt after drinking alkaline water come from diluting the stomach acid and flushing the esophagus—this is something tap water can readily do just as well as alkaline water.
Peppermint Is an Effective Heartburn Solution
Far from it. Some people consume peppermint tea, candies, and oil in an effort to cool and relieve heartburn. Though peppermint has been used as a dietary supplement to treat a variety of problems from irritable bowel syndrome to headaches and muscle aches, it is also more likely to cause heartburn. In a study conducted on acid reflux risk factors, people who consumed peppermint tea generally experienced more heartburn than those who didn’t.
Heartburn Is Only Caused by Certain Foods
Heartburn can be caused by any food, but certain foods are found to trigger heartburn more commonly than others. Those include alcohol, peppermint, coffee, chocolate, spicy foods, greasy and fried foods, tomatoes, and pizza. If you’re experiencing heartburn after meals, we recommend tracking what you eat and when to identify which foods may be causing symptoms.
Heartburn Is an Indication of Heart Attack
This is false. While heartburn can cause chest pain near your heart, this condition is not heart-related. Heartburn occurs when stomach contents flow back through the esophagus and cause burning in your throat and chest. The symptoms of heartburn and heart attack are very different but can feel similar. It's important to know when to seek medical help. Learn more about signs of heartburn symptoms vs. heart attack symptoms
There Are Effective Home Cures for Frequent Heartburn
There are no true home “cures” for frequent heartburn. The good news is that you may be able to manage heartburn through positive lifestyle changes. Changes to your diet, reducing stress, and other healthy measures can mitigate the severity of your heartburn.
You Will Always Have to Live with Heartburn
This isn’t true. Heartburn affects about 20 percent of people in the U.S., and having heartburn once in a while is common, but suffering nighttime heartburn or frequent heartburn on two or more days per week can have a big effect on your life. While there may be no known cure for heartburn, some over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can help you experience lasting relief. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium® 24HR offer 24-hour relief from heartburn, so you can go about your daily life without constantly worrying about your symptoms. Your doctor can also talk to you about how to stop heartburn using OTC medicines.
Use as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn. Nexium® 24HR may take 1-4 days for full effect.