Heartburn Can Lead to Throat Cancers

Having heartburn often may lead to cancers of the throat and vocal cord.  People who suffer from frequent heartburn may be at a 78% increased risk for cancers of the throat and vocal cords even if they don't smoke or drink alcohol.  The good news, though, is over-the-counter antacids may help reduce risk.


What is heartburn?

Heartburn, or gastric reflux, is a painful burning sensation in your chest or throat that is caused by stomach acids backing up into the esophagus.  Certain foods, alcohol or pregnancy can trigger heartburn.  Those who experience it more than twice a week are often diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Gastric reflux can damage the cellular lining of the esophagus, and is believed to be a risk factor for throat cancer. Other risk factors for throat cancer include: tobacco use, including smoking and chewing, excessive drinking, and a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables.

How can you avoid heartburn, and reduce your risk for throat cancer?

1. Don't go to bed with a full stomach: Eat meals at least 2 hours to 3 hours before lying down -- this will give food time to digest and empty from your stomach, and acid levels a chance to decrease before you lay down.

2. Don't overeat: Decrease the size of portions at meal times or try eating 4 to 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones.

3. Eat slowly. Take time to eat -- don't rush. Try putting your fork down between bites.

4. Wear loose-fitting clothes

5. Avoid heartburn triggers: Stay away from foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn symptoms (for example, onions, peppermint, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee, citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, or high-fat foods). A good way to figure out what foods cause your heartburn symptoms is to keep a food diary.

6. Shed some pounds: If you are overweight, losing weight can help relieve heartburn symptoms.

7. Stop smoking: Nicotine, one of the main active ingredients in cigarettes, can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach, allowing the acid-containing contents of the stomach to enter the esophagus.

8. Avoid alcohol: If your aim is to unwind after a stressful day, try exercise, meditation, stretching, or deep breathing instead of drinking alcohol.

9. Keep a diary or heartburn log: Keep track of when heartburn hits and the specific activities that seem to trigger the incidents.

10: Try these over the counter Antacids:

·       Alka-Seltzer

·       Tums

·       Maalox

·       Mylanta

·       Rolaids

·       Pepcid AC

·       Tagament HB

·       Zantac 75