Myths abound about all sorts of health conditions and heartburn is no different. The medical name for heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); it is very common, in particular among elderly people and women who are pregnant. More than an estimated 60 million American adults find themselves plagued by the uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn at least once during the course of a month and an estimated 25 million Americans, both males and females, suffer from the discomfort of heartburn on a day-to-day basis. Here we look at ten common myths about heartburn and the truth that lies behind them.
1. Heartburn is caused by the person who suffers from it
Not exactly. Heartburn is believed to be a medical problem that has some biological causes linked to it. There are healthy lifestyle changes that can be made such as avoiding foods and drinks that worsen symptoms however even with positive changes, some individuals still suffer from the condition, whether they want to or not. There is not a lot of choices involved.
2. Heartburn will be gotten rid of with the daily consumption of a bland diet
There are most definitely foods that are bad for heartburn sufferers and a bland diet is a good way of helping to prevent episodes however this one change alone will not cure heartburn that develops as a result of GERD.
3. Too much stomach acid causes heartburn and that is it
Most people who suffer from heartburn have the same quantity of acid in their stomachs as non-sufferers. In heartburn sufferers, the acid does not remain where it should instead, it moves from the stomach and into the oesophagus where it wreaks havoc.
4. Acid reflux causes problems to take place in the oesophagus and doesn’t upset anything else
The oesophagus is the most targeted area for acid reflux although recent studies have shown that individuals with asthma can develop heartburn or one condition can cause the other to get worse over time. Many asthma sufferers who also suffer from heartburn find that their asthma medication can make their episodes of heartburn worse.
5. Stress causes heartburn
Stress can make heartburn worse but it is seldom a cause of it. However severe stress of a physical kind can sometimes lead to ulcers that bring heartburn along with them.
6. There is no help whatsoever for heartburn
False. There are ways you can help prevent heartburn episodes or alleviate the symptoms altogether. These suggestions include by way of lifestyle and dietary modifications, taking over-the-counter medications such as antacids, and prescription medications.
7. As a heartburn sufferer my heartburn is worse when I eat or drink acidic foods or beverages
Acidic foods can play a role in making a heartburn sufferer feel even worse but it is not specifically because of the acid in the product. For example, orange juice can cause as many problems as nonacidic orange juice.
8. If you suffer heartburn at night, don’t go to bed but sleep sitting up in a chair
Rubbish. In order to prevent heartburn at night stop eating two to three hours before you retire for the night. As well sleep on your left side as sleeping on your right side will cause the acid in your oesophagus to take a longer period of time to clear out. Sleeping on your back is not advisable either as this makes the passage of acid back into your oesophagus so much easier. The best bet is to sleep with your head elevated over your stomach to keep acid in your stomach where it belongs.
9. If you have surgery, you’ll never eat normally again.
When determining which procedure is right for you, discuss what to expect with your physician. “Many have concerns they’ll never be able to eat normally again,” explains Dr. Maish. “But it’s hard to define normal. In the majority, their diet may improve.” For example, individuals who have to plan around social functions or avoid certain food because of GERD may be able to resume eating what they want in moderation.
10 No more spicy food
This doesn’t mean you have to eat plain, boring food. Try spicy foods in moderation; however, stop if it triggers your heartburn every time. It is a good idea to create a diet plan, making sure you get a varied, healthy diet.