zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Milk & Heartburn

by
author image Sarah Harding
Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.
Milk & Heartburn
Milk can improve or worsen heartburn depending on the individual. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Heartburn is a common digestive discomfort that affects individuals occasionally. When heartburn occurs more frequently the individual may have a more serious and chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Milk is sometimes recommended as a treatment for heartburn, but it can make symptoms worse in certain situations. Heartburn is both preventable and treatable. Individuals should consult a healthcare professional to discuss persistent heartburn treatment.

Function

Milk & Heartburn
Heartburn is the name given to the return of stomach acids and contents up the esophagus. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Lightwavemedia/Getty Images

Heartburn is the name given to the return of stomach acids and contents up the esophagus, a tube in the chest area that connects the mouth to the stomach. When the acids flow up this tube it causes a burning sensation. Typically a flap at the base of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, will remain closed to prevent heartburn from occurring. Various factors can increase the likelihood of the flap opening.

Causes

Milk & Heartburn
Alcohol can lead to heartburn. Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Some foods are more likely to trigger heartburn than others. These can vary from one person to another. Common heartburn triggers include spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, citrus, tomato products, peppermint, greasy foods, fried foods and high-fat foods. Eating these and similar items can result in heartburn. Lying down after a meal, bending over, wearing tight fitting clothing and over-eating can put unnecessary pressure on the abdomen and the lower esophageal flap, making heartburn more frequent. Finally, the lower esophageal sphincter can be weak and open easily. This can occur temporarily due to pregnancy or it can be an indication of persistent acid exposure that has deteriorated the flap. A damaged sphincter is more likely attributed to GERD or to pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association points out that hormones in a pregnant woman's body encourage the flap to relax and the digestive process to slow. These factors make it easier for foods to return up the esophagus.

Treatment

Milk & Heartburn
Over-the-counter antacids offer heartburn sufferers fast and effective relief of the chest discomfort. Photo Credit mangostock/iStock/Getty Images

Over-the-counter antacids offer heartburn sufferers fast and effective relief of the chest discomfort. These medicines come in chewable tablet, effervescent tablet and liquid form. They work by neutralizing stomach acid to eliminate the burning sensation. Milk is often recommended as a home remedy for heartburn. Cold milk or warmed milk with a tablespoon of honey are among the common home remedies. This method may work for some individuals by neutralizing the stomach acid in the same manner as an antacid.

Considerations

Milk may actually exacerbate heartburn symptoms, states "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies." Milk contains some amount of fat, especially whole milk or only slightly reduced-fat milk. Fat can cause the stomach to produce excess acid, resulting in heartburn. Individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy sensitivities may experience even more severe heartburn after drinking milk.

Prevention

Milk & Heartburn
Avoiding known food triggers, including milk, spicy foods or any other heartburn trigger, can reduce discomfort. Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

Avoiding known food triggers, including milk, spicy foods or any other heartburn trigger, can reduce discomfort. Individuals can also wear clothing that is not tight to the abdomen. Maintaining a healthy weight instead of being overweight can reduce the frequency of heartburn. Other preventative measures include eating the last meal of the day at least two hours before bed, staying upright after a meal, eating slowly, eating small frequent meals instead of overeating and avoiding bending over after eating.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.