The Myth That Antacids Are Cures For Heartburn
If you are searching for cures for heartburn, can antacids be considered a cure? The answer is no, these products merely suppress your symptoms, with no end or cure in sight. Saying that antacids have cured your heartburn is like saying ibuprofen cured your headache. In both instances, you will likely suffer these maladies many times in the future. If someone had a broken bone and relied only on pain medications, without proper medical diagnosis and setting of the bone, there would be long-term damage from ignoring what was causing the pain in the first place. The same is true for antacids like Tums, H2 receptor blockers such as Pepcid and Zantac and proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec and Prevacid – they make your symptoms more manageable while risking your overall health in the long run, because you aren’t finding out the cause of your heartburn.
Some of the blame lies with the makers of these products. Many people who use over-the-counter acid reflux and heartburn remedies believe they already know what is wrong with them – too much acid production. Though hard to take on the big pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals are getting the word out there that making too much stomach acid is not only unlikely, it is nearly impossible. Many people who are finding real cures for heartburn are discovering through stomach acid level testing that most people either have normal, healthy levels of stomach acid or too little. Furthermore, as people age, stomach acid actually decreases. The myth that millions of people are over-producing acid is finally getting disproven, with many heartburn sufferers moving on to finally curing their conditions rather than living with them.
The rest of the blame lies with society in general. Heartburn, acid reflux, GERDS, and indigestion are ailments only in more modern times. All of those sufferings cannot share in having a rare disorder, such as producing too much acid – it must be something more common that is plaguing so many. The most common denominators are lifestyle and diet. We are a society that overeats, that consumes unhealthy foods devoid of any nutritional value, that needs a boost from caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Changing one or many of these factors can result in complete cures for heartburn, and a much healthier life.
The stomach has enough acid to digest food. When people complain of acid reflux or heartburn, it is because stomach acid is entering through the esophagus, causing painful damage to the lining that can be very serious over time. It is not because the stomach is producing so much acid it is pooling out of the stomach and overflowing. The valve on the lower esophageal sphincter allows foods and beverages to enter the stomach but should form a tight flap that prevents acid from going back out. However, there are things that can weaken the flap such as overeating, and other substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. For heartburn sufferers, this valve is the culprit and changes need to be made to help the LES valve function effectively.
For others, research is showing that food allergies and processed foods that carry no nutritional benefit are damaging the digestive system. Continual diarrhea and stomach upset is not a normal condition. There could even be an autoimmune disease like celiac which, by ingesting gluten, has caused destruction to the villi in the intestine. The key here is that everything in the body happens for a reason. Whether acid reflux, indigestion or heartburn are caused by eating too much, eating the wrong foods, allergy, disease or even a hernia, suppressing symptoms through antacids is standing in the way of your health. The only cures for heartburn lie in finding out what is causing your symptoms in the first place.