Dealing With Frequent Heartburn? You're Not Alone
Heartburn is way more common than you might think.
There are many people who regularly experience a burning feeling in the chest or throat, especially after eating, and think that they may have heartburn — but don't see a doctor about it. Why not? Misinformation can make you scared, embarrassed, or unaware of what your symptoms mean.
But rest assured: There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Myths about heartburn abound, and this will help set the record straight. Keep these facts in mind the next time you feel heartburn coming on.
1. It's super common. More than 60 million people in the U.S. experience heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million Americans have symptoms every day, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. Think about that for a second. That means that almost one out of every five people has heartburn. The next time you take a look around your office, realize how many others may have it, too—and remember that you're not alone.
2. It's not an "old person's disease." You may have heard that heartburn is more common among the elderly, and that is true, but that doesn't mean that it can't strike when you're young. You can develop heartburn at any age. In fact, even infants can get it.
3. It doesn't mean you're unhealthy. Yes, people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience heartburn, but it can happen to you even if you're fit and eat healthy foods. Some nutritious yet acidic foods that are possible heartburn triggers are fish, fruits (especially citrus), and sauerkraut.
4. You don't have to suffer. There are plenty of treatments available for minor heartburn symptoms that you can keep on hand, like antacids. There are also treatment options available over the counter for frequent heartburn — meaning heartburn that happens at least two or more days in week — such as proton pump inhibitors. You should make an appointment with your doctor if your heartburn continues or worsens or if you need to take the product for more than 14 days.
5. Taking a pill regimen is not a big deal. If taking a pill every day is part of your treatment plan, don't let it scare you. Keep in mind: Nearly 49% of Americans took at least one prescription drug in the last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you already take a multivitamin regularly, it's not hard to add one more pill to the mix. And there are lots of tricks that can help you remember to take it.
Embrace what's going on with your body and get the help that you need right now. After all, you deserve to feel good.