Heartburn and Dill Pickles

Heartburn is the burning and painful sensation of acid coming back up your throat after eating acidic or spicy meals. If you experience it on a regular basis, you may be desperately searching for an effective treatment. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication or you can take an over-the-counter medicine. Folk and home remedies abound, including eating dill pickles or drinking dill pickle juice, to treat your heartburn. This may not be an effective treatment and educating yourself may help you decide if it is right for you.

Dill pickles come whole, sliced or cut into spears.
Credit: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

Causes and Symptoms

Pain in your esophagus may also radiate out to your jaw, chest, neck and throat. The pain is caused by the contents of your stomach coming back up when your esophagus does not close properly. Certain foods are more likely to cause heartburn, including tomato products, spicy foods, such as jalapenos, fatty foods, alcohol, citrus fruits, chocolate and products that contain mint.

Dill Pickles

A folk remedy exists that suggests drinking dill pickle juice or eating dill pickles to help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with heartburn. While this remedy may work for certain people, it may also make your heartburn feel worse. The main ingredient used to make pickles is vinegar, which is a highly acidic food. The more acidic the foods you eat, the more likely you are to experience heartburn. If you have chronic heartburn, your doctor has likely advised you to stay away from highly acidic foods, making it unlikely that dill pickles will help alleviate your symptoms.

Recommendations

The only way to know for sure whether dill pickles or dill pickle juice eases your heartburn symptoms is to eat or drink the food. If you are brave enough to give it a try, start small. Take a small sip or eat one bite of a pickle because chances are it will make your discomfort worse. One reason dill pickles may be linked to easing heartburn is because they contain sodium, a mineral that might actually help you. In "Heartburn and Reflux for Dummies," Carol Ann Rinzler and Ken DeVault note that baking soda can be an effective treatment for heartburn because the first ingredient in the product is sodium. Baking soda helps neutralize acids, which dill pickles and pickle juice are unlikely to do.

Considerations

The fact that dill pickles and dill pickle juice are so acidic may make you think twice before consuming them as a heartburn cure. There are many proven heartburn treatments, so speak with your doctor to determine which is right for you. In the meantime, eat smaller meals that do not contain acidic foods, elevate your head a few inches while you sleep and wear loose fitting clothing to help reduce your discomfort.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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