Understanding 3 Common Heartburn Myths

Health & Medical Blog

Characterized by a burning sensation from stomach acid that moves up through the chest and esophagus and into the throat/mouth, heartburn can cause a good amount of discomfort. Also known as acid reflux, heartburn is more common than most people think. As a matter of fact, the number of people who suffer from heartburn has doubled in the last decade. Unfortunately, most people do not fully understand this disorder or how to treat it. This guide will help you understand the truth about a few common heartburn myths.

Not a Serious Condition

Because so many have experienced heartburn/acid reflux at some point in time, you may think the condition is not that serious. It is important to remember that heartburn can become serious if left untreated, especially if you experience it frequently.

Some people with chronic heartburn have an undiagnosed condition known as GERD. If GERD is left untreated, ulcers may form in the esophagus, which can be painful and debilitating for some. In addition, asthma, chronic coughing, and breathing difficulties are common in patients who have GERD because of the disorder's effect on the esophagus/airway.

Never take heartburn lightly. If you are experiencing heartburn frequently, be sure to talk with your doctor.

Affects the Heart

Another common myth many people believe is that heartburn affects the actual heart. In reality, heartburn affects the stomach, esophagus, and throat.

As the stomach acids work their way up the esophagus, you may experience a burning sensation and pressure in the chest area. Many people believe this discomfort is caused by a problem in their heart because of the location of the pain. In fact, some patients will even visit the ER believing they are having a heart attack when they are actually experiencing severe heartburn.

Of course, any severe discomfort should be addressed by your doctor even if you are only experiencing heartburn.

Milk Is Best for Treatment

Finally, there are many myths about how to best treat heartburn. Drinking milk, for example, is one myth people believe is effective for treating heartburn.

It is true that milk can decrease the burning sensation in your mouth and throat, but this relief is only temporary. Milk will not treat the excess acids in your stomach or prevent the acids from moving up into your esophagus.

If you are experiencing heartburn, talk to your gastroenterologist about the best course of treatment to not only ease discomfort, but prevent the acid reflux in the first place.


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