Heartburn Relief May Be As Close As A Stick Of Gum

When heartburn -- generally associated with regurgitation of acid-peptic gastric juice into the esophagus -- catches you off-guard and without antacids or medications, try reaching for a stick of gum.
Chew on this!
Plain-old gum could provide temporary relief, says Dr Stuart Spechler, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and a heartburn expert.

Chewing gum stimulates swallowing and the secretion of alkaline saliva," Spechler says. "Swallowing helps to clear acid from the esophagus, and the alkaline saliva can neutralize acid that remains in the esophagus after swallowing."

Heartburn is considered one of the most common ailments in the United States and strikes 60 million adults at least once a month, according to the National Heartburn Alliance. Surveys suggest that 20 percent of all adults suffer from heartburn at least once a week. Heartburn is also very common during pregnancy.

So, what if the gum doesn't do the trick? You might consider taking an antacid. However, before you do, talk to your caregiver for some recommendations and don't just go crazy at the drugstore -- even over-the-counter remedies may not be good for you. For example, Pepto-Bismol is specifically not recommended during pregnancy. Also be aware that some brands of antacids contain a high percentage of sodium, which isn't good if you retain water -- and can be even worse if you have high blood pressure. While the active ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate, Rolaids contain an aluminum-based antacid, and Maalox's is magnesium-based.PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: antacids anti-acids heart-burn heartburn reflux

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