In an article published in Daily Mail, it says that prescribed drugs for heartburn increase the risk of stomach cancer by two times. In relation to this, a study conducted by researchers from the University College London, reveals that the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat chronic heartburn (even in a recommended time of two weeks), double the chance of having cancer in the later seven years. Moreover, those who use the prescribed drugs for a year have a five times chance of developing cancer. Also, users of PPIs every day for three years are eight times more at risk of having cancer.
For an average of 7.5 years, researchers of the study observed more than 63,000 patients. They estimated that for every 10,000 individuals taking PPIs, around eight of them will develop stomach cancer. Thus, making it four times more compared to those who do not take the drugs.
It was 28 years ago when the drugs were first licensed in the United Kingdom. From that time, around 15,000 new cases of esophageal cancer were recorded each year. As shown in the data of Cancer Research U.K., since early 1990s cases of esophageal cancer were increased by six percent. Risks linked with the use of PPIs also include a decrease in sperm count, raised kidney failure, hip fractures and stroke.
Yearly in England, an estimated 55 million of PPIs were prescribed by doctors in order to treat chronic heartburn. Conversely, PPIs have side effects. This can be felt particularly by those patients who tend to use them for months or years rather than two to four weeks. This drug works by blocking proton pumps, a stomach acid released by cells, in the lining of the stomach.
What Causes Heartburn?
Heartburn is a condition where some of the stomach contents are forced back up into the esophagus, therefore, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. It is also known as acid reflux – a condition caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and this happens more than twice a week.
This condition often occurs when the lining of the esophagus comes in contact with too much stomach acid for a long period of time. Consuming specific foods and drinks can result in heartburn. These include alcohol, coffee, chocolate and spicy or fatty foods. Also, conditions such as being overweight, pregnancy, stress, smoking, anxiety as well as some medicines like anti-inflammatory painkillers and a hiatus hernia (a part of the stomach moves up into the chest) may trigger this condition.
Natural Remedies for Heartburn Relief
- Avoiding foods that can cause heartburn (which was stated above)
- Quitting smoking
- Chewing gum
- Drinking a glass of water
- Eating meals that are rich in protein
- Changing your body position, such as sleeping sideways, standing up straight after meals, and elevating the head and upper body when lying down.
- Losing weight and eating smaller meals
- Sipping a baking soda concoction
- Practicing deep breathing exercises
- Adding herbs such as horse-radish, mint, caraway, dill, bay, fennel, cumin, tarragon, ginger, marjoram, cardamom and cinnamon in the food that you are cooking
- Drinking chamomile or fennel tea
- Adding a mixture of a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water and drinking it 30 minutes before eating