A lot of people at one time or another have occasional bouts of burning in their chest of heartburn or the feeling of acid backing up in your throat, commonly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you are one of them, then you know how uncomfortable it is. After all, the feeling of food coming up in the back of your mouth or that rise of sour heat from acid is not what you want to happen, especially after eating to doing a simple task like bending or sleeping. Therefore, let me share some home remedies that may help douse the fire of infrequent heartburn.
Heartburn and GERD take place due to the lower esophageal sphincter (a muscular ring shaped-valve between the stomach and esophagus) that closes up at the esophagus, changing digestion. Instead, food and liquid go directly to the stomach before that muscle closes again. As a result, the muscle becomes lazy or just weakens that the stomach contents of the food and liquid brewing forces itself back up the esophagus, only to return more highly acidic and troublesome without the normal way the stomach deals with excess acid.
Reasons Heartburn and GERD Are on the Rise
It is no secret that Americans are gaining more weight every year to the point of becoming obese. The problem of that weight gain is an increased pressure to the abdomen. The added strain and its effect on that lower esophageal sphincter increase the likelihood of GERD. Dropping a few pounds may be enough to help lessen the episodes of heartburn and acid reflux.
Our lifestyles are also different from only a generation or two ago. We live faster paced lives usually with both husband and wife working while also trying to raise a family. In the process, we don’t always eat the best meals or are too rushed and grab fatty snack foods to just get through a long day. Eating fast foods regularly or even the type of overly spicy cuisine that you may like to frequent during lunch hours like Thai, Mexican and Indian can often get come back to haunt you later with heartburn and GERD.
Home Remedies for Heartburn Relief
For instant relief, you might want to sip on a small amount of milk. It can help temporarily to block stomach acid. Some people may find fat-free skim milk more helpful from introducing any extra fats that can later trigger more acid. However, I always found 2% milk that I had in my refrigerator worked well enough for me.
Over the counter antacids are something that can provide heartburn and acid reflux relief. You can even try a chewable calcium tablet that can do the same thing for coating the stomach. In fact, calcium is what goes into many antacids for this reason.
One teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water can help neutralize stomach acid.
Avoid eating a heavy meal close to bedtime. Aim for at least two or three hours after finishing a meal before attempting to retire for the night. A sleeping position with a stomach full of food often can cause heartburn and acid reflux. What you can try is sleeping on your left side. According to one study, the left side keeps the acid more in the stomach than the right side.
Eating smaller meals helps digestion better than loading up the stomach to maximum capacity with larger ones. Our bodies are different with how they process food. What some people can digest easily, others cannot. Eating smaller mini meals is better for those prone to heartburn and GERD.
What else helps at meal time is remembering to chew food slowly. The reason this can help heartburn and acid reflux is that your mouth can have a running start with its saliva to break down some of the acid before it hits the stomach. If you eat too fast, the food that you chow down on ends up at once in the stomach, putting more pressure on that lower esophageal sphincter muscle.
The type of clothing that you wear can play a part in heartburn and acid reflux. Wearing too tight of clothing may put too much pressure of that important lower esophageal sphincter to cause acid reflux. This problem can be even worse if you wear tight fitting pair of pants or skirt after finishing a meal to result in heartburn and GERD.
Another good idea is to examine your diet of the common foods you eat. Some foods and drinks can trigger heartburn and acid reflux. You might find writing down your daily foods and go through an elimination process for some common culprits as: garlic, onions, caffeine, chocolate, tomato products, soda, citrus, peppermint, white and wine vinegars, fried foods to alcoholic drinks. Spices such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, mace, ginger, coriander, black pepper, cloves, curry powder, tabasco sauce, chili sauce, mustard seed, etc. also need to be looked at to see what your body can tolerate. Testing a suspect food and waiting for any reaction can help make you aware of what spice, food or drink could be causing the heartburn and acid reflux problem.
Please keep in mind this information is not meant to diagnose any underlying medical condition. It is just some basic understanding of heartburn and acid reflux with home remedies for those occasional problems with it.
Experiencing heartburn and GERD more than twice a week is a sign that you need medical attention with a trip to your doctor than self-medicating to diagnose what may be really going on with your body.