How to Get Rid of Heartburn & Severe Acid Reflux
Heartburn is a health discomfort when one feels a sensation of burning in the chest region. Often, Heartburn is the symptom of a more serious disease called acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). To be specific, GERD is a chronic disease and more serious version of heartburn. People experience the burning sensation after the consumption of certain kinds of foods or drinks. Heartburn is usually in the central and upper parts of the chest. A burning sensation fills up behind the breastbone which can be triggered or aggravated by lying on the back or lying on one’s right. According to studies, 25 to 40 percent of people are attacked with heartburn once every month. Of them, 7 to 10 percent experience it on a daily basis. In pregnancy, heartburn is a common discomfort. On a general perspective, men and people above 40 years are more prone to heartburn.
Causes of Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Heartburn is caused when the contents of the gastric gland overflow back into the esophagus. This excessive backflow is a rare phenomenon and is without any symptoms. However, when the gastric contents have more acidic substances in them, it can irritate the esophagus, triggering symptoms of heartburn. Snacking around bedtime is also often a cause for heartburn. Several risk factors can trigger the more severe form of heartburn, GERD. If you are habituated with eating large portions at mealtimes, you are quite prone to acid reflux disease. Also are those of you who have a tendency to lie down right after taking a meal. Obese people also stand higher risks of contracting this disease. Then again, people who regularly eat citrus fruits, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chocolate, mint, and foods rich in fats and spices are more likely to get acid reflux. This apart, regular consumption of alcohol, caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee and carbonated drinks can also cause heartburn and acid reflux. Often, heartburn and acid reflux may be caused as side-effects to other medication. Long term use of ibuprofen, aspirin, blood pressure medications and personalized muscle-relaxing medicines are sometimes attributed as the cause of this health issue.
In many cases of heartburn, people often experience difficulty in swallowing. This is called dysphagia. It gives the feeling of food being stuck in the lower esophagus. In other cases, people may also experience a sore throat with a mild cough, laryngitis or some respiratory discomfort. However, the following symptoms are not very common. More common are the symptoms like stomach pain, more specifically in the upper abdomen. Besides, people also complain of disgorgement of foods and liquids back into the throat, usually with an acidic taste. In the case of a severe acid reflux, patients also complain of bloating and bloody or black stools. Some may even experience nausea and vomiting with blood in it. Patients may also experience excessive burping and hiccups that seem never ending. Unexplained weight loss can also sometimes indicate acid reflux.
Natural Home Remedies to try at Home
Below are some proven effective treatments that can be done at home to get relief from heartburn and acid reflux to treat it naturally at home.
Put an end to the burning sensation in your stomach caused by acid reflux, and for that, all you will need is a teaspoon of baking soda. Chemically known as sodium bicarbonate, this ingredient so often used in cooking can help relieve you from the gnawing heartburn sensations by neutralizing the acid content in your stomach. Baking soda has a pH value that is higher than 7.0. This means, that when the acid pushes up your throat, you do not feel that burning sensation anymore. Mix a half to 2 teaspoons full of baking soda in a glass of water. Make sure the water is no more than 8 ounces. Stir the mixture and gulp down the liquid. You can repeat this quick home remedy more often throughout the day. However, make sure not to exceed the dosages by more than seven times in a 24 hour period. This dosage is strictly for half a teaspoon of baking powder. Also, it is not advisable to use this remedy for more than seven days. This is because; baking soda also has a high salt content. This can cause other side effects and lead to nausea or swelling.
Aloe vera is a miracle ingredient that finds various uses in health and medicine. Not only does the juice of aloe vera plant soothe external burns, but it is also greatly effective in treating heartburn and acid reflux. When your stomach becomes an irritation, and the smooth muscle of the stomach lining is inflamed, the juice of aloe vera can soothe the irritation by reducing this inflammation. To follow this remedy, drink half a cup of this wonder juice before meal times. You can drink aloe vera juice cool or at room temperature. However, keep in mind the fact that aloe vera is also a potent laxative. So, it is advisable to buy an aloe vera drink from a natural health store where it is sold without the laxative component.
For a change, chewing gum has welcome health effects. For instance, chewing gum can soothe the symptoms of heartburn and acid refluxes. The traditional reasoning is that chewing gum stimulates the salivary glands. This, in turn, boosts the flow of saliva which naturally dilutes the built-up acid. This flushes out the acid more quickly and naturally reduces the GERD symptoms. This remedy has been backed by the Journal of Dental Research through a study that it conducted on patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic heartburn. The study proved that when the patients chewed sugar-free gums for 30 minutes, they experienced their symptoms easing away. To follow this remedy, simply pop in a sugar-free gum after you have taken your meal.
Eating fruits like bananas and apples are a great way to relieve the burning sensation in the stomach and prevent acid reflux. Bananas are loaded with natural antacids which help against building up acidity. One of the best ways of keeping heartburn at bay is to eat bananas every day. Only make sure that you allow the bananas to ripen well before eating them. Alternately or additionally, you can munch on fresh and juicy apples. Slice up a fresh apple and eat it just a couple of hours before retiring for the night. This remedy not only eases acidity and heartburn but also, doing this on a regular basis can keep the disease at a distance.
Ginger is one of the best natural cures for any stomach woe, and that includes problems with acid reflux and heartburn too. Ginger is a natural acid buffer, and it works by soothing the inflamed and irritated stomach muscles. Cut into small pieces or grate three quarter sized pieces of ginger. Bring to boil 2 cups of water and in it, put your ginger. Allow the ginger to simmer and infuse the water with its goodness for a good 30 minutes. Stain this water and drink the tea around 20 minutes before a meal.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acid loaded apple cider vinegar may quite come up as an extraordinary remedy for treating heartburn, but as is the case, it is a very useful resource. For many people, acid reflux is caused as a result of oversecretion of stomach acid. If this is also your case, you will only benefit with this remedy. Apple cider vinegar contains a good amount of acetic acid which adds up to the acid in your stomach. Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid, and the acetic acid in the vinegar lowers the stomach acidity by increasing its pH. It maintains the level of stomach acid at 3.0. This makes it a mild environment in the stomach for easy digestion of food without bothering the esophagus and reducing chances and symptoms of heartburn. Many experts also debate that when insufficient acid is present in the stomach, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can open up, triggering acid reflux. This is most often the case in aging people. Thus, drinking apple cider vinegar during this situation gets more acidity to the LES valve and controls heartburn. Take three teaspoons of the raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and stir it into 6 to 8 ounces of fresh water. Drink this mixture before a meal. This can be done before every meal for best results.
Mustard is yet another effective solution to treat your heartburn and ease the burning sensation in your esophagus. Loaded with minerals, this alkalizing ingredient often used as a sauce or ingredient in cooking works wonders against acid reflux. Mustard paste or sauce contains vinegar, which has acetic acid, an acid weaker than the stomach acid. The fundamental properties of acetic acid help neutralize the stomach acid with high pH. Just take a teaspoon of good quality yellow mustard and consume it before your mealtimes.
This herbal tonic acts a natural tonic for healing symptoms of acid reflux. The tea contains ingredients which are helpful in reducing the inflammation caused in the smooth lining of your stomach muscles. It also possibly balances out the high acidic levels in the stomach offering much relief from the burning sensation. Take a teaspoon of dried chamomile flower petals. Boil a cup of water and throw in your chamomile steep in the boiling water for around 10 to 15 minutes. Switch off the flame, let sit for a couple of more minutes and stain it finally. Drink this tea mixed with honey. Ideally, the tea is recommended an hour before going to bed in the night for a peaceful sleep, unperturbed by symptoms of acid reflux.
Dos and Don’ts
If you are attacked with heartburn, these are certain things to keep in mind –
- Don’t wear tight clothing, including tight belts.
- Avoid at all costs any snacks before 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.
- For daytime naps, ideally, try to rest in an armchair or just a comfortable chair so that you don’t have to lie down flat on your back.
- In the nighttime, when you go to sleep, gravity becomes a natural enemy of your sleep. This is because; when you lie down flat on your back, the digested food particles mixed with the stomach acid climb into the esophagus. This causes a great To avoid this, plant the bed by placing blocks under the head of the bed. Raise the head of the bed to around 4 to 6 inches. This will ensure you a goodnight’s sleep when you are suffering from acid reflux.
When is Diagnosis Necessary?
If you are experiencing severe burning sensation or pain and other symptoms like radiation into neck or arms and shortness of breath, call your doctor without delay. In some cases, such symptoms may also indicate a heart attack. Also, if your symptoms of heartburn recur more than two times a week, it is a wise thing to see the doctor to ensure there are underlying health issues. This is because, in such a case, it is more likely a case of GERD.
Preventing Heartburn and Acid Reflux
One of the most surefire ways of keeping at bay heartburn and acid reflux is to maintain a healthy diet. You should avoid all those foods and drinks which trigger the symptoms. To begin with, you can make your food portions smaller during the mealtimes. It is more advisable to spread out more mealtimes throughout a day with smaller portions than eating more with fewer meals. If you are a smoker, you can do yourself a huge favor by quitting it. If you are obese, it is critical to losing weight to prevent heartburn. Shed off the excess kilos in a healthy manner combining diet and exercise. Sometimes, heartburn or GERD is triggered by other medications. To sort out the exact cause of your condition, talk to the doctor to get yourself the proper treatment.