Natural Remedies For Heartburn And Acid Reflux
According to Guts UK, a British non-profit committed to the research of digestive disorders, acid reflux affects about 25 percent of the UK adult population. Acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn, can be pretty uncomfortable and painful, especially at night, after eating, or when lying down. If you have experienced heartburn before, you are probably aware of the unpleasant, burning sensation in your throat and chest that comes with it. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to relieve symptoms of acid reflux naturally, with medications also available if required. The natural remedies of heartburn offer a cost-effective and easy way to treat your gastroesophageal condition at the comfort of your home. Read on for natural remedies that may help you deal with heartburn and acid reflux.
What is Acid Reflux?
The medical term for acid reflux is gastroesophageal reflux, typically caused by the backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. Symptoms accompanying acid reflux include heartburn, which is a sharp, painful, and burning sensation that takes place in the throat or chest. You may also suffer an episode of slight hiccup or, in some cases, an acidic and bitter taste at the back of your mouth. Also, some people tend to experience asthma, laryngitis, or a chronic cough, especially when they get heartburn at night.
Acid reflux is triggered by a wide range of factors, including hiatal hernia, smoking, overeating, lying on the back after a heavy meal, and eating close to bedtime. Heartburn is also aggravated by such drinks as coffee, alcohol, and carbonated beverages. Medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, blood pressure dosages, and various muscle relaxers are also potential causes of acid reflux.
Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
Here are some home remedies that you can use for your acid reflux treatment.
• Raise the Head of Your Bed
Recent studies indicate that elevating the head of your bed can go a long way in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux. This remedy is usually applicable to individuals that experience heartburn at night. You can adjust the head of your bed using mattress wedges, wedge pillows, or bed risers. Wood blocks can also be used to raise the bed. Experts recommend adjusting your bed by about six to eight inches. The idea is to lift your body from the waist up.
• Do Not Overeat
The digestive tract features a ring-like muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. The muscle, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), is responsible for controlling stomach contents from flowing back to the esophagus. Overeating causes bloating, weakening the lower esophageal sphincter. This means that there is too much pressure on the ring-like muscle than it can handle, hindering it from closing correctly. At this point, the LES is unable to prevent stomach contents, such as gastric acid, from flowing back to the esophagus.
• Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on the right side has been proven to worsen nighttime acid reflux, which is why you must avoid the position at all costs. The explanation is that since the esophagus enters the stomach from the right, sleeping on your right side will have gastric acid cover the LES. On the other hand, using the left lateral decubitus position will have the LES sit above the level of gastric acid. Therefore, sleeping on your left side is ideal for your nighttime acid reflux treatment.
• Chew Gum
Chewing gum helps stimulate saliva production, which neutralizes gastric acid in the esophagus. Chewing is also known for increasing your swallowing frequency, which clears the acid in the esophagus by pushing it back to the stomach. However, when choosing your chewing gums, it is best to go for sugar-free and mint-free options.
• Give Up Alcohol
Studies have revealed that continuous intake of alcohol worsens acid reflux by increasing the release of gastric acid in the esophagus. Alcohol also impairs the LES, making it impossible for the esophagus to clear the acid back to the stomach.
• Avoid Eating Raw Onions
Eating raw onions aggravates the symptoms of heartburn. This is because onions contain large contents of fermentable fiber, which is a significant trigger of acid reflux symptoms.
• Keep Away From Citrus Fruits
The high level of acidity in citrus fruits can trigger acid reflux symptoms. Taking citrus juice does not make the situation any better. Citrus juice and fruits can easily irritate the lining of your esophagus, which worsens the heartburn symptoms.