Some say that there is not a proven connection between dairy and heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. In fact, a traditional natural treatment for heartburn is a glass of milk. Foods that cause heartburn do not cause it for everyone in every circumstance. There are many situations where people suffering from what they believe is chronic heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may be linked to dairy. There are even multiple reasons that the signs and symptoms of heartburn can be caused my milk or dairy.
Heartburn that Can Hit Anyone
When people take a glass of milk to ease stomach pains or too much acid in the stomach, it actually does provide relief, since milk is a natural antacid. Unfortunately, the relief it offers is short lived. It can also be one of the causes of indigestion. Since it is an antacid that is really intended to slow digestion when babies drink it on an empty stomach, when we take it with grains and meat, all sorts of dyspepsia symptoms rear their heads. All that food that is not left in the stomach when digestions slows down has a chance to ferment and cause gas and bloating, as well as the abdominal swelling that is the key to acid reflux and heartburn symptoms. This isn’t a long article on the science of the heartburn and bloated stomach after eating relationship but here is the rule of thumb: anything that increases the pressure in the stomach or leads of abdominal swelling overall can relax or weaken the “lower esophageal sphincter” or LES and allow painful gastric acid to move up into the esophagus causing acid reflux pain and heartburn, as well as other nasty symptoms such as throat burn, bad breath, and dry cough symptoms.
The Bigger Dairy Picture
There is another big reason that dairy products can cause heartburn and acid reflux symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals. Keep in mind that this is part one of this series so we haven’t even got to conditions such as lactose intolerance. Essentially, after the initial relief from the milk there are three parts of the milk that can cause problems. Keep in mind that these three components of milk could come from many sources of dairy, not just a tall glass of milk.
All three of these components can lead to heartburn and serious stomach pain that stems from the relaxing of the LES or the effect of consuming the fatty dairy products. If you are eating fatty milk, ice cream, regular cottage cheese, sour cream, or other full or high-fat dairy products, you may be at increased risk of heartburn pain and acid reflux symptoms, even if you are otherwise healthy and not lactose intolerant.
While this is a dairy-free site, I recommend that even if you surfed here for the tips on how to get rid of heartburn in general, limiting the amount of fatty dairy products you consume, especially on a full stomach, will often help reduce heartburn, even if you do nothing else.