Treatment Options For Acid Reflux
Many people find that simply avoiding the foods that trigger their heartburn is enough to eliminate the problem. Others benefit from elevating their head during sleep.
If you smoke, your doctor may recommend you try to quit. Smoking can reduce the esophageal sphincter muscles effectiveness, making acid reflux more likely.
You may also benefit from using over-the-counter medications. These medications include:
- Antacids: Available in chewable or liquid form, antacids usually work quickly by immediately weakening stomach acid. They provide only temporary relief.
- H2 receptor antagonists: Taken in pill form, these reduce acid production in the stomach. They dont provide immediate relief, but may last up to 8 hours. Some forms may also be available by prescription.
- Proton pump inhibitors : Also taken in pill form, PPIs reduce production of stomach acid and may provide relief for up to 24 hours.
If OTC drugs and lifestyle changes arent enough to provide relief, your doctor may recommend prescription-strength medication for you. If your esophagus has already been damaged by stomach acid, your doctor may recommend surgery. This is generally a last resort.
Acid reflux can disrupt daily life. If left untreated, it can cause lasting damage to your esophagus. Chewing sugar-free gum may help reduce inflammation and irritation.
If you plan to add chewing gum to your daily routine, remember to:
The Doctors: Foods To Help With Asthma
Dr. Jim Sears surprised some unsuspecting people at a grocery store with tips to help them with their health issues. The first suffered from asthma and so Dr. Jim Sears showed her the foods to help with that. Because Asthma is an inflammatory condition, Dr. Jim Sears said that a study showed that eating between two and five apples a week have lower risk of asthma by 32 percent. Dr. Jim Sears also recommended fresh garlic and ginger,which have antioxidants to help with asthma.
Why Does Gum Help Acid Reflux
Chewing on a piece of gum helps flood the esophagus with alkaline saliva, neutralizing and diluting acids that cause the characteristic burning sensations.
Chewing gum also helps to induce increased swallowing frequency, thus improving the clearance rate of reflux within the esophagus.
So, what gum is beat for heartburn and acid reflux?
Read more about how antacids work to relieve reflux here
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Why Acid Reflux Could Spell More Trouble
During digestion, food is broken down into small particles and mixed with saliva in the mouth before proceeding to the esophagus . This process of chewing lubricates the food before it is further mixed with various enzymes and hydrochloric acid within the stomach. From here it proceeds to the small intestines.
However, when the ring of muscle between the food pipe and the stomach becomes weak or relaxes inappropriately, food and acidic stomach juices flow back into the food pipe, a disorder known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux. The condition is characterised by heartburn, a sour acid taste in the mouth and damage to the mucosal lining.
In severe cases, a lot of pain is generated when swallowing due to an inflamed esophagus.
There is also a strong sensation of heartburn during this period, says Joseph Uwiragiye, a nutritionist from University Teaching Hospital in Kigali .
The feeling usually results from eating heavy meals or seeking bed rest immediately after eating, he explains.
Factors such as obesity or overweight predispose individuals to acid reflux although foods that are rich in acids aggravate the problem.
Uwiragiye, for instance, points out that citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and tomatoes, among others, may not be the best for individuals with the condition.
Alcoholic drinks and coffee are not recommended for people with the condition and could result into regurgitation, explains Uwiragiye.
Dealing with the symptoms
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Adjust Your Sleep Position
Elevating your head and chest higher than your feet as you sleep can help prevent and ease acid reflux and heartburn. You can do this using a foam wedge placed under the mattress or by raising bedposts using wood blocks. Beware of piling pillows, as this usually isn’t effective and may even make your symptoms worse. Additionally, sleeping on your left side is thought to aid digestion and may work to limit stomach acid reflux.
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What The Research Says
Multiple studies, including one published in the Journal of Dental Research, indicate that chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour after eating may reduce symptoms of acid reflux. These findings arent universally accepted, though. Opinions are mixed about peppermint gum in particular. Its thought that minty gums, such as peppermint, may have the opposite effect on acid reflux symptoms.
Xylitol And Sorbitol Gums For Acid Reflux
While sugary foods are not recommended to people with acid reflux, the amount of sugar in chewing gums is so little, that it should not cause a problem.
However, it is still recommended to chew sugar-free gums, as chewing gums with sugar are bad for your teeth.
According to the Journal of Dental Research, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum around half an hour after eating will reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
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What Gum Is Best For Acid Reflux
There now seems to be no doubt that there are benefits in chewing gum for heartburn. But which type of gum should you choose?
Is Spearmint Gum Bad For Heartburn?
Mint is generally on the list of foods which should be avoided by acid reflux sufferers. However, this is a very personal reaction usually, it is not a trigger food for me, but it seems to be for a lot of people, if their reactions on social media is anything to go by.
One curious anomaly is that a gum which is highly regarded by its users, and aimed at reflux sufferers, Chooz, is peppermint based. More on this later
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Sugar free Gum
Its generally accepted that it is best to use sugar free gum, as the alternative those gums containing sugar are not good for our teeth. However, to make the gum acceptable to the chewer, the gum should contain either natural sugar substitutes, or artificial substitutes.
Natural Sugar Substitutes these come from fruits and include sugar alcohols such as stevia, xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and isomalt. The most common sugar substitutes found in sugar free gum are xylitol and sorbitol.
Artificial Sugar Substitutes these include Aspartame which is one of the most controversial sweeteners in the world. It is claimed to cause health problems ranging from headaches to cancer. On the other hand, food safety authorities and other mainstream sources consider it to be safe.
Xylitol Gum For Acid Reflux
Increase In The Time Of Exposure
The effectiveness of medication depends not just on its chemical/physical nature, but also the time of exposure.
Since a gum can be chewed on for a longer time, there would be a slower constant release of high pH saliva, swallowed and pushed down in the stomach for a long time, which makes gums even more effective.
This works even better with the gums containing antacids such as bicarbonate which is constantly released in the stomach for a considerable period to cure heartburn, or even its chronic form, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
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Resist The Urge To Overeat Or Eat Quickly
When it comes to preventing heartburn, watching portion sizes at meals can go a long way. Having a large amount of food in your stomach may put more pressure on the valve that keeps stomach acid out of your esophagus, making acid reflux and heartburn more likely. If you’re prone to heartburn, consider eating smaller meals more frequently. Eating quickly can also be a trigger of heartburn so be sure to slow down and take time to chew food and drink beverages.
Some Users Experiences Of Gum With Acid Reflux
The only comfort i get is from chewing gum and laying on my left side. Just wish i didnt get it while i was at working, making my life difficult at the min
I drink water and chew gum. Chewing gum helps digest your food which helps it for me.
Most of the time chewing gum helps me. Got an endoscopy and they found nothing wrong with my esophagus but do have an ulcer. But chewing gum is saves me most of the time.
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Best Gum Brands For Acid Reflux Symptoms
Ive found the best gum brands for acid reflux symptoms like heartburn to be Simply Gum and Between Dental Gum.
I prefer Simply Gum. Its an all-natural chewing gum that doesnt have artificial flavors, sweeteners, or ingredients like plastics which makes it a biodegradable gum. Simply Gum is also kosher, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free.
Simply Gum makes for a wonderful, natural remedy for acid reflux symptoms. Ginger is my favorite but it also comes in other great flavors like cinnamon, fennel licorice, and maple though maple wouldnt have any of the added benefits for soothing heartburn that the others might provide. Avoid the coffee flavor and those with cayenne as these may aggravate your heartburn.
If you happen to prefer sweeteners like xylitol, Between Dental Gum is the way to go.
Other Benefits Of Chewing Gum For Heartburn
- Acid reflux can cause bad breath and a bitter or sour taste as acids back up into the esophagus. Chewing gum will freshen breath.
- The backing up of stomach acid during acid reflux can cause tooth erosion. As mentioned earlier, chewing gum for heartburn will help neutralize acids and wash acid back down into the stomach.
- Chewing sugar-free gum can help clean teeth and reduce cavities.
- Chewing gum is an inexpensive heartburn remedy.
- Being overstuffed can cause acid reflux. Some remedies add to stomach volume causing acid reflux issues to increase. Chewing gum does not add a significant volume to the stomach.
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Eating Bananas May Help To Settle Your Stomach
A portable healthy snack, bananas can sometimes aid in reducing the frequency of heartburn. Dr. Nusbaum told INSIDER that a bananaâs natural pH can help settle the stomach and he said he recommends them to those who suffer from acid reflux.
However, Dr. Nusbaum said about 1% of patients with acid reflux find that their condition is actually worsened by bananas. So before using bananas as your go-to solution to acid reflux symptoms, you may want to test how your body reacts to them first.
Mastic Gums And Acid Reflux
Mastic gum is proved to be effective for indigestion and stomach ulcers. It is considered to be possibly safe for most people, even though there is not enough data about its effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you have a pistachio allergy, you might be allergic to mastic.
When in doubt, ask your pharmacist or physician before trying mastic gums for your reflux symptoms.
While we havent found any scientific study about mastic and acid reflux, mastic seems to reduce stomach acids, so it is probably effective against acid reflux.
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Remedies: Chewing Gum For Heartburn
More than a third of American adults use some form of complementary or alternative medicine, according to a government report. Natural remedies have an obvious appeal, but how do you know which ones to choose and whether the claims are backed by science? In this occasional series, Anahad OConnor, the New York Times Really? columnist, explores the claims and the science behind alternative remedies that you may want to consider for your family medicine cabinet.
The Remedy: Chewing gum.
The Claim: It relieves heartburn.
The Science: It may be hard for most people to think of chewing gum as a remedy for anything other than a case of bad breath. But several studies in recent years have shown that it can in fact help alleviate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known to most people as GERD or heartburn.
Chewing on a piece or two of gum, it seems, helps force fluids back into the stomach and flood the esophagus with alkaline saliva, neutralizing acids that cause the characteristic burning sensations.
One independent study demonstrating this, involved 31 patients who were recruited for testing after they showed up at St. Thomas Hospital in London with symptoms of heartburn. The scientists conceded that their hypothesis going into the study was that chewing gum does not have any effect on the clearance of reflux from the distal esophagus.
Bicarbonate Gum For Lpr
Bicarbonate gums are also great for LPR.
A study in 2001 examined the effects of chewing gum on silent reflux symptoms:
The data show that gum chewing consistently increases esophageal and pharyngeal pH, and that bicarbonate gum causes greater increases than regular gum. For patients with LPR, gum chewing appears to be a useful adjunctive antireflux therapy.
Those who experience a sour taste in the mouth, coughing, or phlegm after eating these are all typical LPR symptoms might find that a bicarbonate gum 30 minutes after meals is a great remedy.
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Shortening Of Stomach Emptying Period
Sugar-free chewing gums, as proven by clinical trials shorten the time period of the emptying of the stomach.
This is a benefit to treat heartburn because, higher the level of indigestible contents in the food, longer the food stays in the stomach.
And if the food stays there for long, the acid secretion would be high and there would be very high chances that this acid refluxes back in the oesophagus.
As gums improve digestion, the food tends to be broken down faster by the acids and results in earlier emptying of the stomach, lowering the chances of heartburn.
C Make All The Necessary Lifestyle Changes
There are many things you can do besides maintaining a healthy BMI and following a GERD friendly diet. Here is a short list of recommendations you should consider:
- Avoid alcohol
- If you smoke, stop immediately
- Leave at least 3 hours between your final meal and bedtime
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Walk for 20 minutes after a major meal to aid digestion
- Try eating 5 or 6 small meals daily
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The Doctors: How To Avoid Sugar
Anne Alexander, the author of The Sugar Smart Diet, also dropped by The Doctors stage to talk about how we can avoid sugar in our diets. Many diseases can be prevented by avoiding sugar, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Studies show that people are eating 130 pounds of added sugar a year. Anne Alexander said that sugar is the first or second ingredient in a number of different foods. Sugar satisfies a craving temporarily, but it also doesnt fill you up. So the more sugar you have, the more cravings you have and the more youre hungry.
Sugar now goes by more than 50 names, so you have to be a sugar detective, Anne Alexander said. She said shes seen healthy cereals that have ten different kinds of sugar. She said our diet has been sugar-jacked.
How Does Chewing Gum Help Acid Reflux
During an acid reflux episode, stomach acids find their way back up into the food pipe, irritating the lining of the esophagus and causing a burning sensation around the middle of the chest, called heartburn.
Sometimes the stomach content can flow all the way back up to the throat, causing symptoms like hoarseness, coughing, phlegm, or lump in the throat. This condition is called silent reflux, as people usually dont experience heartburn in this case.
In order to relieve the symptoms, the acids should either be neutralized, so that the irritation stops, or should be washed back into the stomach, where they belong, or both.
Turns out the right kinds of chewing gums can help in both:
- Chewing gum increases salivary flow. The increased saliva production and swallowing frequency help to clear the throat and food pipe, washing stomach acids back to the stomach.
- The exact pH of saliva depends on the type of chewing gum, but it is relatively neutral, which helps to dilute the highly acidic stomach content.
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Ways To Prevent Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Most of us are all too familiar with the painful, burning sensation in the center of the chest thats associated with heartburn.
In fact, up to 28% of adults in North America experience gastroesophageal reflux disease , a common condition that causes heartburn. GERD occurs when acid is pushed up from the stomach back into the esophagus, which leads to the heartburn sensation .
Although people often use medications to treat acid reflux and heartburn, many lifestyle modifications can also help you reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Here are 14 natural ways to reduce your acid reflux and heartburn, all backed by scientific research.
Does Mint Gum Cause Acid Reflux
If you happen to prefer sweeteners like xylitol, Between Dental Gum is the way to go. Chewing mint gum can give you acid reflux. Mint is a heartburn trigger that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. Avoid mint, peppermint, and spearmint gum to prevent acid reflux.
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