Heartburn myths: fact or fiction?
Heartburn is a symptom of indigestion that occurs as a result of stomach acid escaping up into your oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest.
However, while the symptoms are well known, the causes of heartburn remain a source of confusion for many sufferers.
Rennie takes a look at some of the most commonly held beliefs about heartburn and whether or not there is any truth to them…
1. Heartburn only targets people who have bad lifestyles and have poor diets
The truth: While it may comforting to think that a healthy lifestyle can rid you of heartburn for ever, the reality is a lot more complicated than forfeiting the biscuits for broccoli.
Avoiding certain triggers can certainly help matters, but there are other things to consider such as the amount of food you eat (overeating can stretch the stomach and prevent the oesophageal sphincter from closing) and not eating for at least three hours before going to bed.
2. Stress can be a cause of heartburn
The truth: Far from being just a psychological issue, stress also has many physiological symptoms that can be a cause of heartburn.
When you think about it, this stands to reason – even thinking about food can start you salivating and prompt your stomach to get ready for a good feed.
While there is still debate around whether stress induces the stomach to produce more acid, there are several studies that appear to show that people who suffer from stress feel more discomfort from heartburn than those who aren’t stressed.
So, what can you do to combat stress? Rennie has these simple suggestions for coping with stress that can help you deal with all the trials and tribulations of modern life.
3. A glass of milk will cure any heartburn symptoms.
The truth: It may have been a favourite remedy for your mother or grandmother, but drinking a glass of milk could actually make your heartburn worse.
While the cool, creamy drink would seem to tick all the boxes for a heartburn remedy, the calcium, fat and protein in milk trigger the production of more stomach acid that can then increase the heartburn symptoms.
4. Heartburn is a heart condition
The truth: While a key symptom of heartburn is often a burning sensation found directly beneath the breastbone, contrary to previous beliefs this is not caused by a heart condition – heartburn is caused by acidic fluid from the stomach rising up into the oesophagus and has nothing to do with your heart.
If you do suffer from a bout of heartburn or indigestion, then Rennie has a range of products that can help to alleviate the symptoms. However, if heartburn becomes a consistent problem then you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.