Home Remedies For Heartburn
Heartburn is a common problem that causes a burning sensation in your chest and throat. It may also be accompanied by a bitter taste. Other related symptoms may include gas, nausea, bloating, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms usually get worse after eating a large meal or while lying down.
The burning sensation is caused by acidic stomach juices rising into the esophagus when the valve between the esophagus and stomach does not close properly. This is why heartburn often occurs after eating fatty, fried or acidic foods.
Heartburn can also be due to a hiatal hernia, which means part of the stomach is pushing through an opening in the diaphragm and into the chest. Heartburn is also a common condition during pregnancy.
Other health conditions or lifestyle choices that can cause heartburn include smoking, obesity, caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, eating spicy foods, lying down immediately after eating and taking certain medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. A variety of natural treatments can provide relief from heartburn symptoms.
However, if heartburn occurs frequently and interferes with your routine, then you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease . See your doctor immediately, as untreated GERD can seriously damage your esophagus.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for heartburn.
Heartburn Relief Home Remedies For Heartburn
Heartburn is a common conditioni and can strike at any time. Thankfully, there are many ways to relieve heartburn symptoms when they flare up. Chewing an antacid such as TUMS®;is a first line option, particularly when you need fast relief. However, home remedies and changing lifestyle habits can help, too dampening down the painful sensation you feel in your chest and throat.
How Do Natural Antacids Work
Home remedies for heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux can help to quickly alleviate some of the causes of heartburn.
For example, natural antacids that help to balance stomach acid mean that there is less acidic stomach fluid that can escape back up your esophagus. This can help to prevent chest pains and a sour mouth that are often associated with heartburn.
Some home remedies for heartburn help to soothe irritation and inflammation in your throat and food pipe. This can help to prevent damage caused by the acidic juices and even assist in healing an irritated throat and esophagus.
Other natural remedies for digestive issues can also relieve trapped gas and address the causes of bloating. Having less gas in your stomach means that its easier for the muscle between your stomach and esophagus close fully and prevent stomach acid escaping and irritating your digestive tract.
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How What And When
Watch how you eat: Dont inhale giant mouthfuls of food. Take smaller bites and eat slowly, allowing your stomach time to digest and without giving it an excuse to pump out excess acid.
Watch what you eat: Youre probably aware that specific foods trigger heartburn, usually foods high in acid or spicy foods. Avoid these as best you can to ward off
Watch when you eat: Dont eat within 3-4 hours before bed. Lying down puts more pressure on your LES and increases the likelihood of acid sneaking through.
Preventing And Managing Heartburn
There are many things you can do to help reduce your experience of heartburn.
The first step is make sure your daily meals are based around a variety of foods from each of the five food groups recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating This includes vegetables, fruit, wholegrain breads and cereals, lean meats and meat-alternatives, and reduced-fat dairy and non-dairy alternatives. For an idea on how to get balance and variety into your daily meals, check out these sample meal plans for men and women.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help prevent heartburn. By not overfilling the stomach, there is less chance of stomach acid rising into your oesophagus. Remember to choose healthy foods and be mindful of how much you eat across the day.
Try to eat your last meal a few hours before bedtime. This gives your stomach enough time to empty and can reduce your experience of reflux when lying down in bed.
Fatty foods take longer to break down in the stomach, which is why these foods often trigger heartburn symptoms. Consider ways to prepare meals that reduce the amount of fat. For example:
- Use low-fat cooking methods such as steaming, grilling or lightly pan-frying instead of deep- or shallow-frying.
- Trim the fat off meats and choose leaner cuts.
- Choose reduced-fat dairy products.
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Elevate The Head Of Your Bed
Some people experience reflux symptoms during the night .
This may disrupt their sleep quality and make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
One study showed that patients who raised the head of their bed had significantly fewer reflux episodes and symptoms, compared to those who slept without any elevation .
Additionally, an analysis of controlled studies concluded that elevating the head of the bed is an effective strategy to reduce acid reflux symptoms and heartburn at night (
Elevating the head of your bed may reduce your reflux symptoms at night.
Be Careful What You Drink
Alcohol, coffee and whole milk can all lead to heartburn, as can peppermint tea. Sodas and carbonated drinks may relax the LES and make your stomach acid more acidic, increasing your risk of heartburn. Highly acidic citrus juices such as orange and grapefruit can also cause acid reflux and heartburn in some people.xiii
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Ways To Ease Heartburn Pain
1. Weight loss
Losing weight and improving general fitness has a positive effect on all facets of health, including heartburn and reflux.
It isnt hard to visualize the ways that excess weight can exacerbate heartburn symptoms, says Velker.
The more weight a person is carrying, especially on the abdomen thats kind of pushing down on the stomach, the easier it is for things to come up through the esophagus, she explains. It makes sense, right? Theres more pressure down below, so its more likely to go up.
2. Avoid certain foods
Conventional wisdom dictates that certain spicy foods cause heartburn because their acidity irritates the stomach lining.
But this isnt necessarily true.
While some foods do indeed irritate the stomach, the true culprit is foods that escape from the stomach and into the esophagus.
They do this by causing the valve that separates the two areas to relax and stop doing its job effectively.
Certain foods have an effect on the lower esophageal sphincter, explains Velker. Theres basically a ring at the bottom of your esophagus where it meets the stomach, and then another ring at the top where it meets the throat. Both of those are supposed to close to make sure that food doesnt come back up. Certain foods like caffeine, alcohol, and peppermint relax that lower sphincter, and so obviously if you open the door, its much easier for it to go through.
3. Eat less
4. Stay upright, stay comfortable
5. Chew gum
Really? Yes, really.
Eat Smaller Meals Slower And More Often
If youre eating three square meals a day and have heartburn, you might want to mix things up. Too much food at too few sittings may be contributing to your discomfort. Instead, eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day, chewing slowly and thoroughly to maximize digestion. When the stomach is too full or the food is too fatty, the esophageal valve opens and food and acid move from the stomach back up toward your throat, leading to heartburn, says Scott Gabbard, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Meals that are more than 500 calories cause more reflux than lower-calorie meals, says Dr. Gabbard, and foods that contain more than 10 to 15 grams of fat tend to increase the amount of heartburn.
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Can Bananas Relieve Heartburn
Some fruits are acidic and can trigger heartburn, but others may provide relief. Bananas are a low-acid fruit. They can help soothe your irritated esophageal lining and are high in fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract healthy. Beyond bananas, honeydew melons and cantaloupe are also good for heartburn. They contain magnesium, an ingredient in many over-the-counter heartburn medicines. Eat them on their own or add them to a smoothie.
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Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
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Eat Bananas To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Bananas can be categorized as natural antacids as they lessen the effect of your acid reflux. This is enough a reason to have the tasty banana for getting relief from heartburn. High on potassium which is an alkalizing mineral with a pH of 14, banana helps in moderating the acidity of your stomach by increasing its pH. Higher the pH, lower is the acidity. However, you need to eat a ripe, preferably overripe banana because the bananas that are green or are not overripe contain potassium in the form of potassium nitrate and this can actually make your heartburn more painful. Potassium is not the only reason for bananas being such a good remedy for heartburn. Bananas also have such a chemical that stimulates your stomach lining and thus it produces more mucus to act as a buffer against acid.
- Overripe banana
- This will keep your heartburn away.
Acid Reflux And Proton Pump Inhibitors
What is acid reflux or GERD?
The stomach makes acid to help you digest food and remove bacteria. This is a natural process. In some people, the stomach makes too much acid, which can cause discomfort. When your stomach makes too much acid, you may have symptoms like:
- Burning in your chest
- Regurgitating acid into your throat and mouth
- Sensing a lump in your throat when swallowing
- Burping, bloating, or a feeling of fullness in your stomach
- Chest pains
These symptoms may mean you have acid reflux and heartburn, which can usually be relieved by antacids and no medical treatment. If symptoms become serious and happen more than once a week, it could mean you have gastroesophageal reflux disease . If thats the case, your healthcare provider may suggest changes to your diet and lifestyle.
What lifestyle and diet changes can I try?
For many people, simply changing your diet and lifestyle is enough to relieve symptoms. This may include:
- Removing foods from your diet that could trigger symptoms of heartburn and/or acid reflux. To name a few:
- Acidic foods
- Greasy and high fat foods
- Not eating 2-3 hours before bedtime
If diet and lifestyle changes are not enough, your healthcare provider may put you on a type of medicine called proton pump inhibitors .
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Change Your Body Position
Stand up straight instead of slouching after meals to help food and acid stay in your stomach and out of your esophagus. Try sleeping on your side instead of your stomach, and elevate your head and upper body when you lie down. These simple fixes can greatly reduce heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, making it one of the greatest home remedies for heartburn. Check out which common drink can cause acid reflux.
Herbal Teas The Traditional Method
Herbal teas are a great drink to cure acid reflux. These tea have been used to cure stomach disorders for a long time. Not only do they promote quick digestion, but they also alleviate the burning sensation in the chest and have a soothing effect on the body.
You can try caffeine free drinks for best results. For instance, teas like chamomile, fennel, and slippery elm tea, serve great drinks to cure acid reflux.
Another notable tea for acid reflux is licorice. It helps in building the coating of mucus around the food, which in turn can help relieve the release of excess acid in the stomach.
How to Use
Making herbal teas to bid farewell to acid reflux is quite simple and convenient. All you have to do is add a spoon of the herb in boiling water and strain it before you consume. You can also add a little bit of honey and lemon to enhance the taste and nullify the bitterness of certain herbs.
To see instant results, it is advised that you have at least 2-3 cups a day.
If you are on any prescribed medication, contact your doctor before consuming these drinks since they might react with a particular medication.
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Chew Gum To Get Rid Of Heartburn
A research shows that people with gastroesophageal reflux disease got relief when they were asked to chew sugar-free gum for about half an hour after a meal. When you chew gum, it stimulates your salivary glands to increase the flow of saliva. This saliva washes away or neutralizes your stomach acid giving you instant relief from heartburn.
- Place the piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth after you have finished your meal.
- Now chew this for 25-30 minutes.
What Foods And Drinks Cause Heartburn
- Alcohol: Alcohol can relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Coffee and orange or other acidic juices are some of the beverages that can worse or trigger heartburn.
- Fatty foods, fried foods, and some acidic foods as well as spicy foods can cause heartburn.
- Additional foods that make heartburn worse.
Every person reacts somewhat differently to specific food groups. To track what foods worsen your symptoms, keep a food journal. In this journal, you should keep track of what you eat, the time you ate, any activity that worsened or made the heartburn better, and indicate which days you have heartburn symptoms. Over time, you will be able to correlate the offending foods with heartburn events. Print this and take this with you to your next doctor’s appointment to discuss possible causes of heartburn you may be experiencing.
Pregnancy tends to aggravate heartburn because the lower esophageal sphincter is weakened during pregnancy. This weakened resolves after delivery of the baby. Pregnancy also distorts the organs in the abdomen and the increased abdominal pressure from the growing fetus causes heartburn. These changes promote the reflux of acid and heartburn.
Approximately 17% to 45% of women who become pregnant will suffer from heartburn.
Management of heartburn during pregnancy consists of many of the same home remedies and lifestyle changes for a person with heartburn who is not pregnant .
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Having mild, infrequent heartburn generally isnt cause for concern. But if youre experiencing heartburn more than twice a week, or if your symptoms are severe or getting worse, its important to speak with your doctor. Frequent heartburn could be a sign of gastro-oesophageal reflux , a condition that requires prescription medication and monitoring.
If you are experiencing chest pain and arent sure if its heartburn or a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention by calling triple zero .
How Is Heartburn Treated
In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.
Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.
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Mix Baking Soda With Water
You might have a heartburn remedy at hand in your kitchen without even knowing it. Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid.
To do this, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it slowly. In fact, you should drink everything slowly when you have heartburn.
help relieve nausea, so some believe it may be worth trying for heartburn, too.
Consider adding grated or diced ginger root to your favorite stir-fry recipes, soups, and other foods. To make ginger tea, steep raw ginger root, dried ginger root, or ginger tea bags in boiling water.
Its probably best to avoid ginger ale, though. Carbonated beverages are a common heartburn trigger, and most brands of ginger ale are made with artificial flavoring rather than the real thing.
Heartburn Or Heart Attack
A heart attack is when the arteries connected to the heart become blocked. Heartburn, on the other hand, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus.
Some symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack could be similar, such as chest pain. As a result, some people who are having a heart attack do not take action as they think they have heartburn.
If a person experiences heartburn pain alongside shortness of breath or sweating, this could be a heart-related issue.
Other symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- discomfort in the chest, such as squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain
- pain or discomfort in one or both arms, stomach, neck, jaw, or back
If a person has some or all of these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical attention. In the words of the American Heart Association , If in doubt, check it out.
Knowing how to distinguish a heart attack from heartburn can save lives.
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