When dealing with acid reflux, there are many ways to go about it. Here, we are going to look at acid reflux home remedies. Before we dive into what types of home remedies are out there for dealing with acid reflux, let’s first take a look at what exactly acid reflux is.
Acid reflux can present itself as a slight occasional discomfort to a painful and frequent occurrence. What exactly is this medical condition? Acid reflux is a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
In a fully functioning stomach, this muscle should close after food passes through the area on its way to the stomach. If the LES muscle does not close or opens too often, the acid generated in the stomach moves up through the esophagus. This causes pain and discomfort that is often referred to as heartburn. If the acid reflux is frequent, you may have what’s known as GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
- Signs that indicate you may suffer from acid reflux
People that suffer from acid reflux often accept it as a fact of life and do not seek treatment. However, a solution could be within their grasp. Before deciding on a treatment, you will want to visit a doctor for an evaluation and recommended next steps.
There are a number of signs and signals to look out for that may indicate you are suffering from acid reflux. Bloating, bloody or black stools, bloody vomiting, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, excessive burping, dysphagia (feels like food is stuck in your throat), frequent hiccups that do not stop, nausea, weight loss for unknown reasons, a taste in your mouth, and wheezing, dry cough, chronic dry throat, and hoarseness.
Everyday Home Remedies for Acid Reflux
Weight loss helps alleviate acid reflux. Increased weight can prohibit the sphincter from closing. While a workout regimen and acid reflux-friendly diet can be fantastic for acid reflux patients, it is important to consult your doctor before making changes.
One important fact to remember is that certain exercises could even increase the frequency and intensity of your acid reflux. While high impact exercises may be ideal for weight loss for some individuals, for those suffering from acid reflux these exercises could make their symptoms even worse.
Such high impact exercises can include running, jumping rope, cycling, stair-climbing, weightlifting, and more. Walking is most likely a safe route, but a doctor can give you the appropriate direction that will be ideal for you.
Remember, just because you’re walking, doesn’t mean you can’t put a little “giddy-up” in your step. Pick up the speed a bit!
Modified Behavior After Eating
After you have eaten a meal, lying down might sound like a relaxing activity. However, this can make acid reflux symptoms worse for sufferers. For this reason, avoid eating before bed. Hanging upside down or bending over after eating can also bring on acid reflux. Sitting up after a meal is the best strategy to avoid acid reflux symptoms.
Foods to Avoid
When considering what foods to avoid if you suffer from acid reflux, an excellent rule of thumb is acidic foods. Some of these are citrus foods like tomatoes and tomato-based recipes, oranges and citrus juices. Also avoid food and drinks like alcohol, fried foods, sodas, and other sweetened beverages, sugar, processed foods, fish, and many other foods. Cheese and chocolate can also be trigger foods for acid reflux sufferers.
Eat Smaller Meals
A very full stomach can cause the LES valve to relax, which increases the likelihood of acid reflux. Rather than the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner try several acid reflux-friendly small meals throughout the day.
Acid Reflux Friendly Foods
Try to avoid acidic foods. This leaves many foods that are safe to eat. If you are carnivorous, you will want to stick with white meats and/or lean cuts of meat. Stay away from frying your meats and other foods as this could trigger acid reflux.
`1Stick with broth-based soups rather than creams. Green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, leafy greens, and asparagus are brilliant choices as well as cauliflower, cucumbers, and potatoes.
A great plant to use in teas, smoothies, or foods is ginger. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat symptoms of heartburn.
Grains are also a great choice. Oatmeal is always a great way to start the day!
Drinks to Help with Heartburn
Herbal teas can help soothe your stomach to ease digestive problems like acid reflux. Some recommendations for types of teas include chamomile, slippery elm, marshmallow, and licorice. A couple of teas that you will want to avoid are spearmint and peppermint. The licorice tea specifically produces additional mucus that coats the esophageal lining and decreases the impact of stomach acids on the esophagus.
It is worth noting that cow’s milk can be hard on some people’s stomachs. If you want to try soothing your stomach with cow’s milk you will want to go for the low-fat to no-fat milk. The fats, whether they come from foods or drinks, will relax the LES and may worsen or even cause acid reflux.
The safest milk option for you if you are susceptible to acid reflux is plant-based milk. This can be almond milk, soy, flax, cashew, or coconut. One warning for these products is that Carrageenan is in some of them. It is key to look for this in the list of ingredients so you can avoid that product. It could worsen your acid reflux.
There are some fruit juices safe for consumption in avoiding acid reflux. Avoid citrus drinks like orange juice, pineapple, and others. Some great non-acidic juices include carrot, aloe vera, cabbage, pear, and cucumber to name a few.
Much like the fruit juices, you will want to avoid acidic fruits and veggies in your smoothie. Some examples are like those used in juice: watermelon, pear, green veggies, and grapes.
Heartburn: Acid Reflux Home Remedies (3 Things to consider)
1.Quit Smoking and/or Chewing Tobacco
Besides the other health risks of tobacco, it can also negatively impact acid reflux. The nicotine relaxes the LES inviting the acids from the stomach to come back up through the esophagus.
A common alternative to tobacco use is chewing gum. Conveniently, this is also a remedy for acid reflux. The saliva that you generate when you chew gum helps to neutralize the acid in your stomach, helping to ease acid reflux.
3. Sleeping Position
As mentioned previously, lying down after eating is not a good idea. Therefore, sleep on an incline rather than a flat surface. Ideally, your head should be about 6-8 inches higher than your feet. There are foam wedges that can lift your head to the recommended level. There are full mattress wedges that go under the mattress or a wedge for just your head that may work for you. Another option is a bed that can lift your head much like a hospital bed.
Things to know about Medications for Treating Acid Reflux
Prescription Medications and Acid Reflux
Check your current medications, because some of them might relax the LES which allows it to open more freely and let stomach acids move up to the esophagus. Some of these medications are estrogen, tricyclic, and some anti-inflammatory painkillers.
There are other medications that may irritate the esophagus. There are some bone density medications that can cause irritation to the esophagus. A few of those are alendronate, ibandronate, and risedronate. It is important that you consult your doctor to find out if medications can affect acid reflux.
Over the Counter (OTC) Remedies for Acid Reflux
OTC medications are great for temporary relief of acid reflux. Some familiar names you may recognize for this are Maalox, Rolaids, and Tums. There are many! If you are suffering from acid reflux two or more times per week, see your doctor to discuss long-term remedies for the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease you might suffer from.
Homeopathic Remedies for Acid Reflux
Homeopathic remedies are in plants, minerals, or animals. The elements are put in gels, drops, creams, ointments, and tablets form.
Using homeopathic remedies can be a somewhat risky resolution to acid reflux. It is an industry unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If you go the homeopathic route, communicate this with your doctor so he is aware when he/she prescribes other meds.
A challenge with homeopathic remedies (as with prescribed medicines) is that different remedies may or may not work for unique individuals. There could be some trial and error when deciding if a specific homeopathic remedy will work for you.
People commonly try to treat themselves with their own research on homeopathic remedies. While this can be effective occasionally it is highly recommended to go to a professional homeopath if you are interested in exploring this as an optional remedy for your acid reflux.
What if acid reflux goes untreated?
Many people think acid reflux is just a part of their life that they have to get used to. Going without treatment can lead to Barrett’s esophagus. As acid comes up through the esophagus regularly, the esophagus lining becomes thicker and reddens. This can cause pain and permanent damage to the esophagus. While untreated acid reflux will not lead to death, you are at an increased risk for esophageal cancer when Barrett’s esophagus develops. And cancer is something that can lead to death.
If you are experiencing acid reflux regularly, your doctor should be your first resource for treatment whether it be with medications, lifestyle changes, or homeopathic remedies or some combination of the three. It can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience that you probably do not have to suffer with.
For further information, speak to your doctor directly. I also recommend looking into the American Gastroenterological Association.
In conclusion, there are many avenues you could take when looking for acid reflux home remedies. Start with switching up your foods and drinks. Then gradually add other steps every few days, or once a week, like sleep position, gum chewing, and exercise.