What You Should Know About Heartburn
Do you often feel uncomfortable after dinner? Is there a kind of burning sensation in your throat? Do you feel uneasy or restless?
If your answer is yes to all three questions, then you probably need to consult a doctor.
Recent studies have shown that acid reflux or heartburn that occurs two or more than three times a week can be a symptom of food pipe cancer, vocal cord cancer or hypopharyngeal cancer.
Dr K S Soma Sekhar Rao, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Therapeutic Endoscopist at Apollo Hospitals, explained, “The symptoms start at an early age. But many patients don’t see a gastroenterologist until later stages; they merely pop a few pills at home and consider the problem to be under control.”
Causes Of Heartburn
- Spicy and oily foods, high-fat foods and junk foods
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Taking too many painkillers and heavy antibiotics
- Eating food at irregular intervals
- Eating too many citrus fruits, caffeinated drinks and carbonated beverages
Lifestyle Modification Is A Must
Dr K Rakesh, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, explained, “Due to unhealthy eating habits, the body produces more acid to digest food. This increased quantity of acid needs to be controlled. The body needs to understand that too much of acid is not required to digest food. And this signal comes through once food habits are changed and followed on a regular basis.”
Changing Food Habits Helps
- Avoid spicy and oily foods
- Eat smaller quantities of foods at frequent intervals
- Avoid lying flat after eating food for at least one hour
- Avoid stress and strain
- Exercises like yoga and meditation have helped patients
- Weight reduction in obese people goes a long way
Heartburn Disappears When Cancer Develops
If the acid keeps going in a reverse direction from the stomach to the food pipe, then eventually, the lower half of the esophagus will get transformed into something like a stomach.
Dr K Sreekanth, Senior Surgical Oncologist at Yashoda Hospitals explained, “Over 40 percent of the patients suffering from throat cancer do not give a history of acid reflux. This is because the lower part of the esophagus changes its lining to that of the stomach and gets used to the acid. Due to this reason, the sensation is not felt by patients. In 75 percent of the patients, once the cancer sets in, there are no signs of heartburn and that is very dangerous.”