Acid reflux, as the name suggests, is a condition that occurs when the acid from your stomach rises upwards into the esophagus. The stomach is designed to store the hydrochloric acid (HCL), secreted by the G-cells in the stomach. The production of HCL is stimulated by the smell or sight of food or when you are hungry, as it helps in digesting the food.
- However, the esophagus is not made to withstand it. The acid causes pain, such as heartburn, and can eventually lead to bleeding and damage to the esophagus. If it's occurring regularly, chances are that you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Heartburn regularly might lead to long-term complications. It can induce esophageal irritation and strictures. It may potentially cause cancer in rare situations.
- One of the main reasons the acid is released is that there is a problem with the valve called the lower esophageal sphincter. Certain factors can put a person at risk for acid reflux. These factors include: being obese or overweight, eating large meals, lying down soon after eating a meal, pregnancy, smoking, hiatal hernia, asthma, and Diabetes.
Causes of acid reflux
- In addition to the above factors, certain foods can cause acid reflux. These foods include tomatoes, purees, vinegar products, chocolate, onions, spicy food, peppermint, citrus fruits, fatty foods, and caffeine.
- Some foods can help lessen the occurrence of acid reflux. For example, apples are good for neutralizing stomach acid and relieving heartburn.
- Drinking lots of water or skim milk can help the sphincter valve to close more tightly. The liquids can also help dilute the stomach acid. Foods that can help neutralize stomach acid are figs, yogurt, pineapple, and decaffeinated tea.
Symptoms of acid reflux:
The symptoms of acid reflux are
- Chest pain,
- Unexplained weight loss,
- The sensation of food being stuck in the throat,
- Frequent hiccups,
- Bloating, dry cough,
- And difficulty swallowing.
Many of these symptoms can be controlled with lifestyle and diet changes. There are also over-the-counter medications to provide relief from symptoms. If your symptoms occur more than twice a week, or if the symptoms are severe, a doctor should be consulted.
Natural remedies for acid reflux or GERD
Herbal therapies for heartburn have received little recognition. However, most studies have focused on a product named Iberogast. It contains nine different herbs, including:
- Mustard plant of the clown
- Chamomile from Germany
- More celandine
- The herb lemon balm
- Thistle (Milk Thistle)
Iberogast has been demonstrated in several tests to help with heartburn. However, it is unclear which plant in the mixture cures symptoms. But note that peppermint oil (alone) might aggravate heartburn, so consuming it's not a good idea if you have GERD.
Can Milk Help With Heartburn?
You've probably heard that sipping a glass of milk will help ease heartburn. While milk can temporarily buffer stomach acid, the nutrients in milk, especially fat, may drive the stomach to create more acid.
Although milk is not a fantastic treatment for heartburn, it is a good source of bone-building calcium. Try fat-free skim milk in moderation. Limit yourself to eight ounces of skim milk at a time as a snack in between meals. Heartburn can be exacerbated by overfilling the stomach.
Is Chewing Gum an Effective Heartburn Remedy?
Although it may appear weird, gum encourages the production of saliva, which acts as an acid buffer (i.e., it weakens the acidic nature of HCL). Furthermore, chewing gum causes you to swallow more frequently, which pushes those acids back out of your esophagus. When choosing a pack of gum, be sure it's sugar-free to safeguard your teeth.
Tips to relieve heartburn
Heartburn can be relieved by implementing a few easy strategies at home. They are as follows:
Watch how much you eat. Avoid foods that cause heartburn, peppermint, caffeine, sodas, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, onions, and high-fat meals. Consume extra fiber to keep your digestive tract healthy and to move. Reduce the portion sizes of your meals. Instead of taking three large meals a day, try eating five or six little ones. Overeating at once is a major cause of heartburn.
Watch what you eat. Remove the plate at least two or three hours before night to allow your stomach to empty before lying down.
Reduce your weight. Excess abdominal fat can pressure the stomach, causing acids to rise into the esophagus. To lose weight, stick to a diet that you can follow for an extended period. Avoid crash diets. Also, include at least thirty minutes of walking or any exercise for your muscles (according to your age) in your daily routine.
Keep a journal. Keep track of what you've eaten and when your heartburn symptoms arise so you can identify and avoid the triggers that cause your symptoms.
Throw away the smokes. Tobacco use can impair the muscle function that maintains stomach acids in place. It is only best to quit smoking for GERD and many other health reasons.
Adjust your belt. Get rid of the skinny jeans. Tight clothes add additional strain on the abdomen and cause the push of the acid upward especially if the acid is produced in large quantities.
Tilt your head up. Put 6 inches of wood blocks under your bed to elevate the head. On the other hand, raising your pillows is ineffective in case of heartburn.
Heartburn is quite prevalent – and extremely painful. It occurs when the acid of your stomach reaches up into the esophagus. It might feel like a fire in your chest, scorching its way up your neck. We know that medications can help relieve heartburn, but natural heartburn cures and lifestyle modifications may also be effective. If you're popping antacids like candy and have heartburn more than a couple of times a week, or if you've been using antacids for more than two weeks, it's time to visit a doctor. However, using these tips from Cured.com can help prevent acid reflux and can help avoid future difficulties.From the Web