Acid Reflux - What is it and how can it be treated?

5 Effective Home Remedies for Acid Reflux

Some digestive conditions, medications, or lifestyle can cause the show of acid reflux. We will give you 5 effective strategies to relieve the acid reflux

Have you ever felt a strong burning sensation through your throat and/or chest? This uncomfortable sensation is called acid reflux, but is most commonly known as heartburn and affects millions of people around the world (1)

 The acid reflux, besides including this flaming sensation all over your digestive system can also be vomiting, bad breath, tooth erosion, and a bitter or sour taste in the back of the mouth after the reflux pass by through your throat.

 Causes of acid reflux

Some foods can cause acid reflux

Certain foods increase the possibility of suffering from acid reflux and heartburn, when we abuse them frequently it is likely that we experience this condition regularly.

The foods that most trigger acid reflux are:

  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Soft drinks or carbonated drinks
  • The alcohol
  • The chocolate
  • Foods and products rich in fat, for example, fried foods, junk food, or sausages
  • Citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, or strawberries
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Ingredients such as tomato, tomato sauce, mint, or peppermint
  • Highly seasoned dishes

Hiatal hernia

When a hernia occurs in the hiatus area, our lower esophageal sphincter weakens, causing it not to close properly, which can lead to acid reflux. This condition known as hiatal hernia is quite common, requiring medical attention and preventive treatment to avoid discomfort.

Normally it does not present symptoms by itself but the collateral discomforts it generates, including acid reflux. That is why if you frequently suffer from this condition, it is important to visit your gastroenterologist to carry out the pertinent tests and rule out any ailment.

Gastroesophageal reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux is a very common condition that affects more than 30% of the population. It occurs when the liquids and food found in the stomach are returned to the esophagus, generating a series of annoying symptoms, among which is acid reflux.

Although reflux can occur sporadically without representing a major health problem when it occurs frequently it is important to go to a gastroenterologist to prevent this condition from advancing and ending up affecting the patient's routine and well-being.

Take certain medications

Have you noticed that your acid reflux started along with the intake of certain pills? This is perfectly normal since some drugs tend to have their effects on our stomach causing, among other symptoms, acid reflux.

Among the most common medications that cause acid reflux we find:

  • Certain antidepressants.
  • The progestogen is used in contraceptives and medications for heavy flow.
  • Certain sedatives.

5 Effective Home Remedies For Acid Reflux

This discomfort can be attacked with the help of some over-the-counter medication which includes antacid and ant reflux pills but, if you are looking for a more long-term solution, we will give you 5 home remedies to treat effectively the acid reflux.

The appearance of the acid reflux happens when the valve between the food pipe and stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), fails to close properly after eating, which allows stomach acid to leak up into the food pipe or esophagus.

 An estimate of 14 to 20% of American adults suffers from some type of acid reflux according to scientific studies (2). From these percentages, at least 7% of them experience acid reflux daily (3).

 Although acid reflux may easily go without any important symptoms, frequent and heavy acid reflux can burn your esophagus inside out and cause a more severe form of reflux known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

1. Take calcium

Calcium is a natural remedy to treat effectively the heartburn. Is one of the main ingredients of antacid pills.

 Try to include it as a supplement to your daily diet.

2. Avoid overeating

People who suffer from heartburn may have the lower esophageal sphincter – muscle that makes up a valve between the stomach and the esophagus - weakened or dysfunctional – has a probable cause and/or consequence of acid reflux – which might also be heavily altered if you consume large meals (4).

 By avoiding them you will decrease acid reflux episodes in your daily life.

3. Limit your coffee consumption

Coffee might weaken the lower esophageal sphincter – at least temporarily – (5). Caffeine is the main responsible for this result.

 However, if you substitute regular coffee with decaffeinated, this may help you to reduce your heartburn daily appearance, study shows (6). 

4. Chew gum

By chewing gum, you will reduce the acidity levels that might be present in your esophagus (7). The bicarbonate compound might be especially effective to decrease heartburn.

 All this happens because chewing gum increases saliva production thus helping clear out your esophagus from any acidity present.

5. Forget tight clothes

Tight clothing compressing heavily on your stomach might cause the show of acid reflux symptoms since it provokes your stomach content to rise to your esophagus.

 In this case, loosen your belt or try less tight clothes to improve your digestive health.

 Go to a doctor if

Your acid reflux episode persists for over two weeks and its symptoms worsen. 

 A very high percentage of people who experience acid reflux – from 20 to 40% - develop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is the most serious form of acid reflux and the most common digestive disorder in the US (8).

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