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Does Milk Help Heartburn?

Does milk help heartburn?

If you have ever struggled with heartburn, you know what an uncomfortable sensation it is. This burning pain felt in the chest, behind the breastbone, often coincides with a sour or acidic taste in the throat or mouth as well. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube carrying food you swallow from the mouth to the stomach. If you’ve had heartburn, you know you want relief. You might have come across the suggestion of drinking a glass of cold milk to help your heartburn symptoms. But does it work?

Milk and Heartburn Relief

Milk is often thought to provide relief for heartburn. Potential reasons for this perception include:

  • Its higher pH level may help balance the acidity from heartburn-triggering foods.
  • Milk’s calcium content may help tighten the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.
  • Milk protein triggers gastrin secretion, aiding in stomach emptying.

Ironically, milk might not be the effective remedy for heartburn it’s often thought to be.

Milk May Make Your Symptoms Worse

Dairy is known to be a common trigger for heartburn symptoms. Many people exclude dairy, especially full-fat products, from their diets solely to eliminate heartburn symptoms.

Milk can also aggravate heartburn when consumed on a full stomach, another common trigger for heartburn. An overly full stomach exerts undue pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular valve that keeps acid in the stomach. When the LES malfunctions, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus, causing the burning discomfort associated with heartburn. For this reason, adding milk to a full stomach is unlikely to relieve your heartburn and might even worsen your symptoms.

What Alleviates Heartburn?

Insufficient scientific evidence supports milk as a long-term solution for preventing or relieving recurring heartburn.

To address chronic heartburn and get relief, it’s best to work to reduce triggering foods from your diet and to get a proper diagnosis by a doctor.

Though milk does not offer a cure for heartburn, there are many effective ways to find relief from this discomfort. Several lifestyle adjustments can help manage heartburn including:

  • Choosing looser clothing that doesn’t constrict your stomach.
  • Quitting smoking and nicotine products, as they can weaken the LES.
  • Avoiding going to bed with a full stomach.
  • Refraining from eating within three hours of lying down.
  • Opting for smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Reducing consumption of other heartburn-triggering foods, such as:
    • Peppermint
    • Tomatoes
    • Chocolate
    • Carbonated beverages
  • Considering medications like antacids which can offer on-the-spot relief by neutralizing stomach acid.

What If My Heartburn Symptoms Don’t Improve?

If you find yourself experiencing frequent heartburn, it’s important to consider the possibility that you might be dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This more severe form of acid reflux demands attention, as ignoring it can lead to complications such as esophageal damage and even cancer.

Fortunately, there are effective treatments available to manage GERD and acid reflux, but it is important to see a doctor for an accurate assessment and treatment plan.

If you are suffering from heartburn, don’t wait — take action to address your symptoms and improve your quality of life today. Schedule an appointment for a proper evaluation and guidance on managing your symptoms today!

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