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Things To Help Severe Heartburn

Natural Ways To Prevent Heartburn

One in three Americans regularly experience acid reflux. Try these food- and lifestyle-based strategies to tame the flame.

Hand sanitizer and toilet paper arent the only products flying off shelves lately. Heartburn medications are also more in demand than ever, as reports of acid refluxwhen stomach acid or food flows back up into the esophagus, causing symptoms like chest pain or that on-fire feeling in your throatare on the rise nationwide. Experts like Carolyn Newberry, M.D., co-director of Weill Cornell Medical Colleges Innovative Center for Health and Nutrition in Gastroenterology in New York City, say factors contributing to this spike include changing eating patterns, weight gain and less physical activity.

Over-the-counter and prescription acid-suppressive medications can help. But wariness of long-term use and potential side effects have more people seeking nonpharmacologic therapies, says Newberry.

Here we take a look at what heartburn is, plus offer diet and lifestyle remedies to help improve your symptoms.

Take An Acid Neutralizer

When heartburn hits and you need relief, try an antacid like Tums, Rolaids, or Maalox. These medications act quickly to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which can reduce your symptoms. Dont have any on hand? Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water and drink to neutralize the acid in your stomach. Just use caution with this home remedy since its high in sodium and shouldnt be used by people on a sodium-restricted diet.

Learn more: Treating GERD with medications: What you need to know

We also like H-2 blockers, also known as Histamine H2-receptor antagonists. These include such brand names a Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Tagamet, and Zantac. These medications dont work as quickly as acid neutralizers, but they are still very fast. H2 blockers should be taken about 30 minutes before you eat or when you typically experience symptoms.

The benefit of H2 blockers is that they work longer than antacids, but they dont have the same medical risks associated with proton pump inhibitors. As is true with all medications we highly recommend that you discuss use with your doctor before you begin any drug treatment, prescription or over-the-counter.

And remember that while these quick fixes may help relieve your GERD symptoms, they dont address the underlying cause of those symptoms. Your goal should be to stop reflux from happening in the first place, which is why we recommend several long-term solutions to cure heartburn.

A Few Lifestyle Changes Are Worth Trying Before Resorting To Drugs For Controlling Gastroesophageal Reflux

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest.

Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

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What Aggravates Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isnt working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says UH gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD

Diet changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow you to avoid other treatments, Dr. Khaitan says.

Home Remedies For Heartburn

Eight ways on how to control and prevent the discomfort of a heartburn ...

Tags: Digestive Health & Disorders ,

That unpleasant feeling of your last meal coming back into your throat. That uncomfortable, even painful, burning sensation in your chest. Heartburn has returned.

Heartburn is the feeling you get when the contents of your stomach back up into the esophagus toward the mouth. It’s common to experience it from time to time.

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Prescription Proton Pump Inhibitors

Healthcare providers prescribe PPIs to treat people with gastroesophageal reflux disease , peptic ulcer disease, or other digestive disorders that may cause excess stomach acid.

Prescription proton pump inhibitors are available under the following brand names and may have generic formulations:

Prescription PPIs are meant to be taken under a healthcare provider’s supervision and only for a limited amount of time. Chronic use of PPIs has been associated with heart attacks, kidney disease, and bone fractures.

Heartburn Relief Home Remedies For Heartburn

Heartburn is a common condition 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.

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Elevate Your Upper Body

Lying down can make heartburn worse. When it comes time for bed, adjust your sleeping surface to raise your upper body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting your head with extra pillows isnt usually enough. Instead, the goal is to elevate your body from the waist up.

If you have an adjustable bed, set it at a suitable angle to provide relief. If your bed isnt adjustable, you can change the angle of your sleeping surface by using a wedge pillow.

Maintain A Moderate Weight

Eating a balanced diet is key for a personâs general health, and it can also help them manage their weight.

The 2020â2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that 74% of all adults in the U.S. are overweight or have obesity.The Obesity Action Coalition says that acid reflux occurs more frequently among adults who have a high body mass index or obesity. The reason for the link seems to be that excess fat around the abdominal area puts pressure on the stomach, making the body work harder to keep acid down.People with a high BMI may find that reaching and maintaining a moderate weight helps them reduce the frequency of acid reflux.

It is important that people focus on safe ways to lose weight, as losing too much weight too quickly may also cause health problems.

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Does Heartburn Become More Frequent As You Age

ByFred Cicetti08 February 2010

This Weeks Question: Im getting heartburn a lot since I turned 60. Is more heartburn something that comes with more years?

More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month and more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn daily. Heartburn is more common among the elderly.

Heartburn two or more times weekly may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. See a doctor if you have heartburn too often. The doctor can test for GERD.

In the upper GI series, you swallow a liquid barium mixture. Then a radiologist watches the barium as it travels down your esophagus and into the stomach. Another test is an endoscopy, in which a small lighted flexible tube is inserted into the esophagus and stomach.

GERD makes stomach acid flow up into your esophagus. There is a valve at the lower end of the esophagus that is designed to keep acid in the stomach. In GERD, the valve relaxes too frequently, which allows acid to reflux, or flow backward.

A hiatal hernia may contribute to GERD. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach is above the diaphragm, which is the muscle wall separating the stomach from the chest. The diaphragm helps the valve keep acid from coming up into the esophagus.

You can control infrequent heartburn by changing your habits and using over-the-counter medicines.

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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.13

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Southern Cross Medical Library

The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.

Maintain A Healthy Weight To Avoid Heartburn

Remedies To Ease Heartburn Body Means

The diaphragm is responsible for many different functions, but one of them is strengthening the lower esophaguss sphincter. Excessive belly fat can result in abdominal pressure that pushes the sphincter upwards, moving it too far away from the diaphragm to be of much support. Theres even a term for this problem: hiatus hernia.

Studies on this topic show that:

  • Obese individuals have a higher risk of heartburn, which is likely due to their excess belly fat, says a study published in the Digestive Diseases and Sciences journal.
  • Carrying extra weight in the abdomen can increase the risk of developing heartburn and other reflux disorders, as reported by a study in The American Journal of Medicine journal.
  • Pregnant individuals are also at a higher risk of heartburn due to their swelling tummies, according to research published in the Minerva Ginecologica journal.
  • Losing weight, especially around the belly, can have positive effects on heartburn, relieving its symptoms and lowering your risk for it, states a JAMA Internal Medicine study.

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Limit Your Intake Of Carbonated Beverages

Healthcare professionals sometimes advise people with GERD to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.

This is because studies have observed that regular consumption of carbonated or fizzy beverages, including soft drinks, club soda, and seltzer, could be linked to a higher risk of reflux .

One study found that carbonated soft drinks, in particular, worsened certain acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn, fullness, and burping .

The main reason is that the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages causes people to burp more often an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus .

Summary

Drinking carbonated beverages temporarily increases the frequency of burping, which may promote acid reflux. If they worsen your symptoms, try drinking less or avoiding them altogether.

Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing is one of the heartburn home remedies that anyone can do. Deep breathing exercises can reduce the amount of air swallowed and strengthen the muscles surrounding the lower esophageal sphincter, relieving some acid reflux symptoms. And the breathing exercises are unbelievably simple: just breathe in deeply, breathe out slowly. A study in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2018 showed that diaphragmatic breathing reduced belching and other reflux symptoms.

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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
  • Peppermint
  • 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.”

Try Slippery Elm To Get Rid Of Heartburn

Slippery elm has been traditionally used by Native Americans for treating various conditions including wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, skin inflammation as well as coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and stomach problems. The herb has mucilage, a component that converts into a slick gel when it is mixed with water. It gives slippery elm its demulcent property due to which it coats and soothes the area where it is directed. In case of heartburn, it coats the layer of mucous that lines your stomach and thus creates a barrier against acid that could not find its way up to your esophagus.

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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.

Opt For Cooked Onions Instead Of Raw

Raw onions are a common trigger for acid reflux and heartburn.

One older study in people with acid reflux showed that eating a meal containing raw onion significantly increased heartburn, acid reflux, and burping, compared with consuming an identical meal that didnt contain onions .

More frequent burping might suggest that more gas is being produced. This could be due to the high amounts of fermentable fiber in onions .

Raw onions are also more difficult to digest and might irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing worsened heartburn .

Whatever the reason, if you think eating raw onion makes your symptoms worse, you should avoid it and opt for cooked onions instead.

Summary

Some people experience worsened heartburn and other reflux symptoms after eating raw onions.

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What Are Prescription Medications For Heartburn

If over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers do not relieve your heartburn, your healthcare provider may give you a prescription for other medicines, such as:

  • Prescription-strength acid blockers: In prescription-strength , Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid® and Axid® can generally relieve heartburn and treat GERD.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: These are drugs that block acid production more effectively. Proton pump inhibitors include Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec® and Protonix®.

There are some proton pump inhibitors that can be purchased over-the-counter. Talk to your healthcare provider about these medications and what is best for you.

Natural Antacids What Are They

Home Remedies Acidity Quick Relief

Natural antacids are used to neutralize the acid in your stomach juices to alleviate the symptoms of heartburn and GERD.

Many people with occasional symptoms of acid reflux choose to use natural antacids for heartburn relief, as some commercially available antacids have some side effects. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that some antacids cause diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.3

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Top 15 Heartburn Remedies

Just because heartburn is common doesnt mean you have to suffer with it. Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can develop into more serious health problems. Here are the top 15 heartburn remedies…

Despite humorous commercials touting heartburn remedies with funny words like plop-plop and fizz-fizz, heartburn is no joke. More than 60 million Americans suffer from it at least occasionally, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, occurs when acidic stomach juices flow backward into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining. The resulting pain can be uncomfortable, annoying or excruciating. It can hurt as much as a heart attack, says Paige Hastings, a certified nurse practitioner at The Little Clinic in Nashville, Tenn.But not everyone has such pain you could also feel a bitter or acidic taste in the back of your throat or the awful sensation of food or liquid washing back into your mouth and down the gullet.In fact, frequent heartburn and food sticking in the throat are signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease .Untreated, these problems can lead more serious problems, including strictures , ulcers, cancer and pneumonia, explains Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist based in Virginia Beach, Va.

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd

The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.

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Take A Licorice Root Supplement

Licorice root is generally considered a traditional, folk sort of treatment the kind that has been used for decades, if not centuries. Why? Theres a chance that it will help increase mucus production to coat the lining of the esophagus more reliably. This can prevent stomach acid damage.

Of course, eating licorice candy wont exactly help you. The trick lies in a supplement known as deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL. The supplement has reduced glycyrrhizin content to reduce licorice side effects, providing the benefits without too many downsides.

However, do note that you shouldnt consume too much DGL, according to experts at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Excessive DGL consumption can cause:

  • Medication interference
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Reduced potassium levels

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