Health Watch — Heartburn: Home Remedies

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about heartburn — what causes it and what we can do about it. Not eating foods that trigger it is the easiest way to prevent it, and there are medications that prevent or ease symptoms.

What about non-medical remedies? One common home remedy for heartburn used to be drinking milk. Dr. Stuart Spechler, a digestive diseases expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says this doesn’t work because while milk does buffer stomach acid, it also stimulates the stomach to produce more acid. But there is a home remedy that can work: chewing gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of alkaline saliva and encourages swallowing. Swallowing clears acid from the esophagus, and the alkaline saliva neutralizes any remaining acid. If medicine isn’t handy, a stick of chewing gum may give you some quick, temporary relief from heartburn.



July 2007

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