How To Relieve Heartburn
Heartburn can be really uncomfortable, but there are several treatments that can help decrease your symptoms.
If you regularly experience acid reflux, start by talking to your doctor or a K doctor, who can help diagnose you and recommend medications and home remedies to soothe your discomfort.
If you are a smoker, you should stop.
Here are some of the most common heartburn treatments people try to improve their symptoms.
Why Does Heartburn Occur After Eating
When you swallow food, it passes down your throat and through your esophagus en route to your stomach. The action of swallowing causes the muscle that controls the opening between your esophagus and stomach, known as the esophageal sphincter, to open, allowing food and liquid to move into your stomach. Otherwise, the muscle remains tightly closed.
If this muscle fails to close properly after you swallow, the acidic contents of your stomach may travel back up into your esophagus. This is called reflux. Sometimes, the stomach acid reaches the lower part of the esophagus, resulting in heartburn.
Eating is a necessity, but getting heartburn doesnt have to be an inevitable result. There are steps you can take to soothe the feeling of heartburn after a meal. Try the following home remedies to relieve your symptoms.
Gerd Diet: Foods That Help With Acid Reflux
Getting a case of acid reflux once in a while isn’t unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic acid reflux condition that’s diagnosed by a doctor.
Normally, the esophageal sphincter protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.
“Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD,” says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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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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How To Use Baking Soda For Acid Reflux
Always ask your doctor for instructions if youre unsure about the dosage of baking soda you should use for treating acid reflux symptoms. The amount of baking soda recommended is based on age.
Baking soda is meant to provide short-term relief, and isnt intended as a long-term treatment for acid stomach symptoms.
The recommended dose of sodium bicarbonate powder is:
|must be determined by a doctor|
|Adults and teenagers||1/2 tsp. dissolved in a 4-ounce glass of water, may be repeated in 2 hours|
Remember, too much baking soda can cause acid rebound and make your symptoms worse. Youll also want to make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved in at least 4 ounces of water, and sipped slowly.
Baking soda is intended to be used for immediate relief of heartburn and indigestion, but not for regular use or treatment of GERD. See your doctor if your acid reflux lasts more than 2 weeks. Your doctor may recommend other medications like H2 blockers or PPIs.
Ask your doctor if baking soda is a good alternative treatment for you. Theyll be able to tell you if baking soda will interact with your medications or increase your sodium levels.
See a doctor immediately if you have severe stomach pains after taking your dosage.
Pregnant women and children under the age of 6 should avoid baking soda for acid reflux treatment.
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The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Heartburn Fast
What should you take to quickly get rid of occasional symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux? One of the best and quickest ways to treat acid reflux naturally is to drink a glass of baking soda and water. The neutralizing effect of baking soda helps to stop burning sensations in your chest fast and the other symptoms of acid reflux.
When To Connect With Health Care Provider
Dr. Graf said if these tips dont get your symptoms under control, or if youre experiencing regurgitation, you should talk to your primary care provider or a gastroenterologist. Its important to get treatment because GERD symptoms arent just uncomfortable. Acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. And over time that damage can lead to a condition called Barretts esophagus, which makes it more likely that you could develop esophageal cancer.
To put together a treatment plan, your doctor may start with an upper endoscopy. Thats a procedure where youre sedated, and a surgeon puts a scope through your mouth and into your esophagus and stomach to see if the acid has caused any damage. If theres no damage, you can likely have follow-up endoscopies when you have your colonoscopies. You can try prescription medications to control your GERD symptoms.
If your esophagus is damaged or inflamed, or if medication doesnt get your symptoms under control, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgical treatments for GERD are very effective. They can give you significant relief and halt the progression of GERD, Dr. Graf said.
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Avoid Your Trigger Foods
You may have already discovered that certain foods can trigger your heartburn and reflux symptoms. Try keeping a food and symptom diary to help you identify foods that worsen your reflux, so you know what to stay away from.
Here are some common food triggers:
- Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
Some people find that sweets, high-glycemic index foods , and meals that are too hot may trigger heartburn.
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 doctors 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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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.
Types Of Natural Antacids Including Homemade Antacids
What are the types of natural alternatives to antacids that you can use to treat acid reflux pain and discomfort? Here are a few remedies that have an antacid effect that many people have found effective.
- Yogurt as a natural antacid. Raw, natural yogurt contains healthy bacteria that can improve your digestive health. Doctors say that the beneficial enzymes in raw yogurt help to improve the microflora of the gut. Yogurt is also a good source of calcium which has been connected with improvement in reflux symptoms.
- Baking soda. Baking soda is a tried and tested method to relieve reflux symptoms and stop a burning feeling in your chest. Baking soda neutralizes stomach acid to prevent heartburn pain and discomfort.
- Ginger. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help to boost your digestion and stop indigestion. Doctors from Harvard Health say that ginger has been used for centuries as a natural heartburn remedy.4
- Aloe vera. Another natural soothing remedy that can be used as a burning throat remedy is aloe vera. Aloe vera juice not only helps to relieve irritation in your food pipe, it can improve your digestion and help your stomach work better.
- Apple cider vinegar. One natural remedy you can drink for heartburn is diluted apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar also contains probiotics, and there is anecdotal evidence that regularly drinking apple cider vinegar can help to reduce heartburn symptoms.
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How To Banish The Burn
Lifestyle changes can be very effective for those with mild to moderate acid reflux, says Pichetshote. Start with these tweaks and see if they help.
Avoid certain foods. To find what triggers your acid reflux, Mohan recommends keeping a food journal that includes what you eat and any symptoms that flare up afterwards. You may notice fried and fatty foods in particular cause trouble. There are chemical components in these foods that can affect receptors in the lower sphincter muscle, causing it to relax, Mohan says. Whats more, she says, because foods with greater fat content can take longer to digest, they may sit in your stomach longer. And the longer that food stays there, the more likely it is to be refluxed back into your esophagus.
Another potential trigger? Carbonated beverages, which can cause acid reflux by expanding our stomach, Pichetshote says: When we distend our stomach, it can cause a relaxation or lowering of the lower esophageal pressure.
Smoking + Alcohol = Heart On Fire
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can set you up for terrible reflux. The nicotine and alcohol both work to weaken your LES, making it that much easier for stomach contents and acid to splash up into your esophagus. Alcohol is also going to irritate your stomach in general. The solution? Quit smoking, and drink less Doing both will improve your health overall, in addition to relieving acid reflux.
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Watch: Foods That Help Get Rid Of Acid Reflux
Eat regularly throughout the day. Overeating is never a good idea, but an empty stomach can cause problems, too. Go more than three to four hours without chowing down and stomach acid collects. Eat small meals and drink water throughout the day.
Dont eat before bed. Nocturnal acid reflex is a real concern. Normally, someone who is sitting upright will swallow saliva and neutralize that acid, Ergun says. But if youre sleeping, it could be sitting in your esophagus for a while. Wait at least two to three hours after eating before you go to bed. And watch how you sleep. Liquid and gas want to go to the path of least resistance, Pichetshote says. If youre lying flat, it can easily go up toward your head. If youre sleeping a little more upright, it has to fight gravity.
Elevate your head six to eight inches by buying a wedge pillow or slipping a wedge-shaped piece of foam underneath your mattress. Some research suggests that lying on your left side can reduce acid reflux. Theres a pocket in our stomach that has a little more acid than the rest of our stomach, Pichetshote says. When we sleep on our right side, the pocket becomes closer to our esophagus and that can give us more reflux.
Why Baking Soda Works For Acid Reflux
The key to baking sodas ability to treat acid reflux lies in its active ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. OTC antacids like Alka-Seltzer contain sodium bicarbonate, which is what makes them work.
Your pancreas naturally produces sodium bicarbonate to protect your intestines. Baking soda is thought to mimic the effects of this process. As an absorbable antacid, sodium bicarbonate quickly neutralizes stomach acid and temporarily relieves symptoms of acid reflux.
Caution: The sudden decrease in stomach acidity can cause acid rebound . Relief may only be temporary, and your symptoms of acid reflux may return even worse than before.
The same type of baking soda you use to bake or to absorb smells from your fridge can neutralize stomach acid. Its also cheaper in that form, compared to OTC medications.
For people who dont like the taste of baking soda, there are OTC and prescription tablets. Most of them dissolve easily in water. See the instructions on the box for the recommended dosage.
Some of these other forms include:
Alka-Seltzer is the most common brand-name OTC medication that contains sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is also used in some medications with the PPI omeprazole to make omeprazole more effective, rather than being used for immediate relief of symptoms.
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Natural Remedy: Use Baking Soda
You may find relief from infrequent heartburn with sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda. Simply mix ½ teaspoon with four ounces of water to help neutralize the acid. Note this contains sodium and should not be used if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions drugs, are pregnant or have a chronic health condition before using baking soda to relieve heartburn.
Follow A Low Carb Diet
Growing evidence suggests that low carb diets may relieve acid reflux symptoms.
In fact, some researchers suspect that undigested carbs may cause bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure inside the abdomen, which could contribute to acid reflux (
Excessive alcohol intake can worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you experience heartburn, limiting your alcohol intake might help ease some of your discomfort.
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Home Remedies For Heartburn: 10 Ways To Get Rid Of Acid Reflux
Despite what its name implies, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart.
Rather, it’s a burning sensation in your chest that occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the 10-inch tube connecting your mouth to your stomach.
When it hits, heartburn can last for just a few minutes or as long as several hours. Either way, it’s uncomfortable so it’s no surprise if you’re looking for a way to get rid of the sensation fast.
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Eat A Banana Or An Apple
Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. If you want to try out the simplest home remedies for heartburn first, try letting a few bananas ripen up nicely and eating one every day. Another option is to try an apple a day. Slice one up and eat it a couple of hours before bedtime to relieve or prevent discomfort.
What Is The Quickest Way To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Taking antacids is considered the quickest way to get rid of heartburn. These over-the-counter medications help neutralize stomach acid. They are one of the first recommended treatments. They may provide quick relief. However, antacid overuse can cause problems such as diarrhea or chronic kidney disease, especially if they contain aluminum and magnesium.
Other common ways to get rid of heartburn include
- H2 receptor blockers: These medications work to reduce the amount of acid that is made in the stomach. While they do not work as quickly as antacids, they provide longer relief for up to 12 hours. Examples of these include Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, Zantac and Axid AR. Although most people have no problems taking them, long-term use can cause vitamin B12 deficiency leading to an increased risk of bone fractures.
- Proton pump inhibitors: This class of medications block acid production. They also help to heal any damage caused to the lining of the esophagus. They are much stronger than the H2 receptor blockers and include Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix and Zegerid. Excessive use of these medications can cause diarrhea and nausea, vitamin B12 deficiency and an increased risk of bone fractures.
- Baclofen: This medication works to strengthen the muscular valve present at the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. However, it may cause nausea and fatigue in some people.
- Surgical procedures: In rare cases, these are required to help with severe heartburn symptoms.
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