You can easily treat acid reflux with some simple home remedies and get instant relief. But, it is important to know what may be causing the heartburn in the first place. This will help not only with choosing the right remedy but also avoiding GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) altogether.
In today’s Chlorine post, we will discuss the basic causes behind reflux, how to avoid it, and some home remedies to get instant relief.
Acid Reflux (GERD): Brief Statistics
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders. Researchers from the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin found out that reflux occurs in up to 20–40% of adults in industrialized countries.
A combined study by the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Lehigh Valley Health Network, and Homestead Hospital gave the following statistics of their own.
- GERD affects over 20% of adults in the Western world.
- The prevalence of GERD in the United States is between 18.1% to 27.8%
- The occurrence is slightly higher in women (16.7%) than in men (15.4%).
Acid reflux not only causes extreme discomfort but can also cause other complications if persists for a long time.
What Causes Heartburn?
The heartburn sensation occurs when acid from the stomach escapes into the esophagus. Because the esophagus wall doesn’t have a special protective membrane against acid, it gives that burning sensation when comes in contact with acid.
The wall that regulates the exchange of food and air between the esophagus and stomach is called the sphincter. The valve allows the food in and stops the flow of chyme upward the tract.
- When the sphincter doesn’t work properly acid bursts out.
- If the stomach is full to the brim, the wall may eventually open under pressure.
- When the stomach acidity level increases significantly (mainly depending on what we eat).
Common Ways to Avoid Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is generally a temporary gastroesophageal disorder. Symptoms start retreating as soon as the influencing conditions start improving.
Below are some of the most common causes of reflux and how to avoid getting one:
1. Avoid Sleeping on Your Right Side
Already have heartburns? Avoid sleeping on your right side as this worsens the symptoms. What we know so far is, the esophagus connects to the stomach comparatively from the right side. Therefore, when you lie on your right side, the acid is more likely to reach the esophageal sphincter.
2. Reduce Your Portion Size
As we mentioned earlier, if you fill the stomach to the brim, the chances are, you will have reflux. The reason behind this is simple. A swollen stomach exerts pressure in all directions.
This makes the sphincter more susceptible to stretching and allowing the chyme to seep into the esophagus. Therefore, keeping your portion sizes smaller is a great way to ensure you don’t get acidity.
3. Limit Coffee Intake
Coffee can temporarily weaken the esophageal sphincter. While coffee alone doesn’t increase the acid concentration, on a full stomach it can worsen symptoms.
4. Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Bed
You are more likely to have reflux if you go to bed with a filled stomach. When you lay down, no matter on which side when there is no extra room in the stomach, stomach fluids will make their way up.
5. Sleep With Your Head Elevated
If you have persistent reflux at night, changing your sleeping position can really help. Place the pillows higher than usual, preferably with your arms above your stomach when you lie on your back.
6. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive drinking is sure to give you some serious chest burning. Because alcohol both increases the acid concentration in your stomach and relaxes the sphincter.
7. Stay Away From Cigarette Smoke
Smoking and chewing tobacco have similar effects on heartburn as alcohol. Nicotine from tobacco relaxes the value and allows the mixture to seep into the esophagus.
8. Avoid Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and all other drinks that come with dissolved carbon dioxide will make the heartburn symptoms worse. When carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, it makes carbolic acid. Just imagine adding more acid to the stomach.
9. Check What Goes Down the Throat
Fatty and fried foods such as pizza, fries, bacon, and french fries are difficult to digest and can stay in the stomach for a long time, increasing the risk of reflux. Chocolate increases the acidity of the stomach, which can also trigger reflux symptoms.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, and gray fruits directly add more acid to the mix. You already know better than anyone else what foods give you refluxes.
Great Home Remedies to Treat Acid Reflux
If you don’t have access to over-the-counter medicine, you can get instant relief from reflux with these simple heartburn remedies.
1. Baking Soda Dissolved in Water
One of the most simples and quickest ways to relieve heartburn symptoms is consuming using baking soda and water.
How to consume: Take a glass of water and add a teaspoon of baking soda to it. Mix well to make a dilute solution. Take a few sips for almost instant relief.
2. Try Ginder Tea, Add to Your Recipe
Ginger has been used as a remedy against heartburn for centuries. You can either make ginger tea or simply add ginger to your favorite stir-recipes.
How to consume: Boil 2 glasses of water in a pan. Add an inch of grated ginger and boil for 5 minutes. Drink the tea for gradual relief.
3. Use Licorice to Treat Acid Reflux
Like ginger, Licorice has also been used for centuries for a range of digestive problems. However, if you use licorice root, make sure you use it in safe amounts as it may cause side effects.
How to consume: The safe way to use licorice is to use processed one. You can get licorice supplements from drugstores.
4. Chewing Gum May Also Help
Chewing gum may also help with mild symptoms of heartburn. When you chew gum you secrete more saliva. Sliva dilutes the acidic solution and helps relieve symptoms.
Do you have any additional information on how to treat acid reflux?. We would very much love to hear your thoughts.