If you are a foodie like me, then I am sure you have a rich history of googling this phrase “Home remedies for acid reflux.
Well, you’re not alone.
At this point, all you need is instant relief from those painful sensations in your chest and throat.
Let’s jump straight to home remedies for acid reflux first and then we’ll talk about what’s and hows.
Home Remedies for acid reflux that works Instantly:
#1. Eat Banana
#2. Chew Basil Leaves
#3. Drink Cold Milk for Instant relief
#4. Chew cumin seeds
#5. Chew Cardamoms
#6. Chew Mint Leaves to reduce Acid reflux.
#7. Bishop’s weed aka Ajwain seeds
#8. Drink up your saliva (My Favorite)
We’ll explain various symptoms, stages and treatment options.
#9. Apple Cider Vinegar for Acid Reflux
A common home remedy for acid reflux symptoms is apple cider vinegar. Medical opinions are mixed on this homoeopathic fix. So, we’ll detail the remedy and leave you with a few sources so you can explore the different viewpoints.
Apple cider vinegar is only considered an effective treatment when it is in its organic state.
Organic apple cider vinegar will contain a loose sediment layer known as the ‘mother’. It’s this layer which contains a richness of enzymes, proteins, and pectin.
It’s these components which aid in digestion. For this reason, look for organic apple cider vinegar with this ‘mother’ layer.
When using apple cider vinegar as a treatment, be sure to dilute it in some water. Usually, a tablespoon or so added to a glass of water will do. This will minimize the sour taste and throat burn that some find unappealing.
If water still doesn’t do the trick then try adding some honey to the mixture. That should help it go down more smoothly.
As we’ve said there’s disagreement on using this as a treatment. You can explore that further here.
What is Acid Reflux?
If you’re not exactly sure what acid reflux is, you’re not alone. As we’ve said, it’s a common and sometimes misunderstood condition. While it can make life difficult, if you identify it early, there are plenty of easy ways to deal with it.
Many of them are completely natural and we’re here to dive into those further.
Before we do, let’s explain it a little more by giving a quick definition. We found a good definition, on WebMD, and have tried to simplify it.
However, the source is here if you would like a look.
At the entrance to your stomach, there is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Basically, the LES acts as a valve, allowing food into your stomach and preventing stomach acids from travelling where they’re not supposed to be. When functioning properly, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it.
However, sometimes it doesn’t fully close and stomach acids can move into your esophagus. If this happens, the symptoms are what most of us refer to as heartburn: chest pain and burning.
If these symptoms start happening more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease and should see your doctor. This condition is also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and there are many methods of treatment once you have been diagnosed.
Causes of Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)
Acid reflux disease, or GERD, can have many causes.
Sometimes it’s the result of a pervasive, poor diet. Other times, a stomach abnormality, known as a hiatal hernia, can be the spark that sets the match. We’ve linked to a definition of a hiatal hernia but for the sake of brevity, we’ve included one as well.
Normally, the stomach and LES operate beneath the diaphragm, a muscle which helps with both breathing and digestion.
However, in the case of a hiatal hernia, the stomach and LES will bulge past the diaphragm, making it difficult to function properly. Pervasive acid reflux will be one of the symptoms.
Checking for a hiatal hernia is one of the reasons seeing a doctor for diagnosis is so important. If you have any sort of a hernia you may need surgery and you will want a qualified physician to advise on treatment.
Common Lifestyle and Dietary Causes of Acid Reflux:
- Being Overweight or Obese
- Lying down after a large meal.
- Lying on your back or bending at your waste after a large meal.
- Late night snacking, close to bedtime
- Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods.
- Beverages with carbonation or high acidity. Such as Coffee, tea, alcohol, orange juice or soft drinks.
- Blood thinners, anti-inflammatory, and blood pressure medications. Such as Aspirin, IBUProfen, and various other medications.
Foods That Cause Acid Reflux
Later, in our guides for an acid reflux diet, we will explore this topic in greater detail. However, we wanted to give a quick list of some foods which might insight that stomach riot.
- Causal Foods: citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods.
- Causal Beverages: Coffee, tea, alcohol, orange juice or soft drinks.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease: How Does It Feel?
There are many aspects to acid reflux disease. The most common symptom is perhaps heartburn. Most of us have experienced this symptom at some point or other.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have GERD. Still, some of the symptoms are difficult to ignore and can be severe.
Heartburn is simple enough to notice. When it is caused by GERD, the burning sensation can range from mild to intense. Sometimes, even prescription medications cannot fully ease these symptoms.
In more severe cases, the burning sensation, of acid flooding the esophagus, can be accompanied by vomiting. Constricting of the throat can also occur.
We’ve put together a quick reference list of the symptoms of acid reflux disease:
- Chest Pain
- Worsening of pain while lying down.
- Post meal pain.
- Bitter taste.
- Acid escaping into your esophageal tract can leave a bitter or icky taste in your mouth. Especially at night while you are trying to sleep.
- Acid in the esophagus can affect your vocal chords, causing hoarseness. Many mistake this for having a cold.
- Sore Throat
- Extra Saliva
- Trouble Swallowing
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, please consult with your doctor about treatment plans.
Stick with us though. We are about to detail the different stages of acid reflux disease.
Stages of Severe Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)
As we’ve mentioned, acid reflux is common enough.
From time to time, we’ve all had to deal with heartburn but most of us don’t have acid reflux disease. It’s important to remember that acid reflux disease is a long-term, chronic condition.
Like many conditions, there are stages of severity and it’s important to know what they are.
Before we delve into the different stages we’d like to give a reminder.
Damage done to the LES by acid reflux disease is permanent. It cannot be undone, only mitigated.
Later, we’ll delve into a variety of ways to reduce further damage. For now, let’s discuss the stages.
This is the easiest stage to treat. Here we are just making simple dietary changes. This is also the stage where most of us try to live in denial.
Regardless of these symptoms, many of us persist in these unhealthy lifestyle habits. Consuming tums and other OTC treatments, we persist in late-night snacking and other poor choices.
However, it’s in Stage 1 that progression of acid reflux disease can be avoided.
For example, if you’ve noticed certain foods or eating times bring on acid reflux symptoms, rather than reaching for those tums, try making dietary adjustments. This accompanied by doctor consultation and natural home remedies can go a long way to preventing more painful stages.
At this stage, it is helpful to keep a food diary. This allows you to track flare-ups and link them to causal activities or foods.
Also known as Moderate GERD, this stage is more difficult to manage. While there are still many treatment options available, OTC medication will no longer make the same impact they once did.
A patient with Moderate GERD will notice symptoms in greater intensity and frequency. They will also need to see a GERD specialist to get appropriate care.
However, if you get medical assistance and make certain lifestyle changes it’s possible to prevent the condition from escalating. Here, that food diary will help with diagnosis and treatment plans.
Still, there is no guarantee an escalation to Stage 3 won’t happen.
It isn’t called Severe GERD without reason. Symptoms stop becoming manageable at this point. Here, prescription level acid suppressants can no longer keep up with reflux.
At this stage, heartburn is not only more frequent but so is regurgitation.
In Stage 3, medical care is a necessity. Beyond diet changes and prescription medications, surgery may also be required. So, please consult with a qualified physician if you have reached this stage.
We know Stage 3 sounded like the worst that things could get.
Unfortunately, there is also Stage 4, which is the pre-cancerous stage. In this stage, long-term damage to the esophageal lining has actually resulted in cellular changes.
The precancerous stage can occur in 10-15% of sufferers, which is too high for our comfort level. It can be precipitated by other serious conditions such as:
Diagnosis of Stage 4 GERD can only be done by endoscopic examination and biopsy. Treatment by a specialist is absolutely required.
We managed to find some real-world examples of the different stages. If you’ve been having GERD symptoms, then take a look and see if any of these scenarios sound similar to your own experiences.
When you’re done, continue you with us. We are about to dive into treatment options.
Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) Treatment Options
As we’ve mentioned there are many stages of acid reflux disease and variety of treatment options. To know which is best for you, it’s important to discuss your condition with your doctor.
Here, we’ll dive into some of the treatments your doctor might prescribe. Beginning with medications, we will work our way towards diet and other natural remedies.
Over the Counter (OTC) Medications:
There are various over the counter medications that can help ease symptoms in case of Stage 1 and Stage 2 GERD. These are divided into three types.
- Antacids – These neutralize the acid in your stomach. Common among these are Mylanta, Tums, and Rolaids. These can provide quick relief but won’t undo any damage caused by GERD. More importantly, their overuse can result in diarrhea and even kidney disease. So, take care not to become overly reliant on these.
- Acid Reduction – There are medicines that reduce production of stomach acids. These are also referred to as H-2 receptor blockers. While not a fast-acting treatment, they can provide longer-lasting relief of symptoms. Stronger versions are available by prescription.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors – These block acid production and promote the short-term healing of the esophagus. These are often recommended over antacids because they give your esophagus a chance to heal rather than just masking symptoms. (Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC, Prevacid 24 HR)
Most of these include prescription-strength versions of the medications already listed. Discuss with a qualified doctor to decide if prescription medications are the right options for you.
- H-2 Receptor Blockers
- Proton Pump Inhibitors
- Medication to Fortify the LES. These try to strengthen that muscle so that it’s less likely to open and allow acid into the esophagus in the first place. There are side-effects though, which should be discussed with your doctor.
Of course, we don’t want it to come to these but there are surgical treatments available for the more severe stages.
- Fundoplication – This is usually done with a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. In fundoplication, the surgeon will wrap the top of the stomach around the esophageal sphincter. This is done to tighten the muscle and prevent reflux.
- LINX Device – A similar concept with a different approach. Here a ring of magnetic beads is wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus. The beads are tiny but strong and work to keep the junction closed to acid. The ring will still allow it to open for food. A LINX device can be implanted through different surgical methods and options should be discussed with your physician.
If you are interested in learning more about these options, then consider reviewing this helpful resource from the Mayo Clinic.
However, we will now examine various natural remedies. So, stay with us.
We are going to discuss natural and home remedies. These should be very helpful in cases of Stage 1 and Stage 2 GERD. They can also prove useful in preventing acid reflux in more severe stages.
That alone makes them worth considering.
By making some simple lifestyle adjustments you may be able to reduce symptoms and frequency of flare-ups. Earlier, we mentioned some of these. Now, we will explore them in greater detail.
- Healthy Weight – Obesity can be a precipitating factor to GERD. Since the extra weight puts additional pressure on your stomach it can lead to acid escaping into your esophagus.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking tobacco can have so many disastrous health consequences and GERD is one of the less discussed. This nasty habit can reduce the strength of the LES and its ability to prevent acid reflux.
- Head Over Heart – If heartburn symptoms are flaring while you are trying to sleep, consider sleeping in an elevated position. Propping yourself on pillows may not accomplish this. You may want to think about buying an adjustable bed.
- Skip the Lie Down – Try not to lie down immediately after a meal. The Mayo Clinic recommends waiting at least 3 hours before lying down.
- Slow and Steady – Eat your food slowly and chew thoroughly. This simple step will go a long way towards preventing acid reflux.
- Comfortable Clothes – Placing additional pressure on your abdomen can lead to flare-ups. For this reason, avoid tight-fitting clothing.
Beyond these lifestyle changes, there are other home remedies you can use to soothe symptoms.
There are many natural remedies known to soothe an upset stomach, such as:
- Chamomile and more
Some of these might be worth trying but remember that they can interfere with some prescription medications. So, don’t forget to inform your doctor when formulating your treatment plan.
Some people have had luck improving their symptoms through relaxation therapies, such as:
- Guided Imagery
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As always, discuss with your doctor to determine if any of these are right for you.
We’ve already mentioned some dietary components that can affect acid reflux disease, but let’s take a closer look.
One of the easiest ways to address acid reflux disease is through dietary changes. We recommend keeping a food diary for a few weeks. This will help you better track which foods cause your symptoms.
In the meantime, we’ve created a list of foods most common an exacerbating GERD symptoms.
- Coffee – Regular or Decaffeinated
- Chewing Gum & Hard Candy
- Fatty or Fried Foods
- Peppermint & Spearmint
- Whole Milk
- Creamed Foods or Soup
- Caffeinated Soft Drinks
- Other Spicy or Acidic Foods
More details regarding the effects of these foods can be found here.
Acid Reflux Diets
We’ve listed some of the foods to avoid if you have acid reflux. Now, let’s explore some foods that can be helpful for those suffering from GERD.
- Aloe Vera
- Salads with light dressing
- Chicken or Turkey
- Fish and Seafood – These are great sources of not only nutrition but healthy fats.
- Root Vegetables
- Rice – Especially Brown Rice
- Couscous – Made with Semolina Wheat or Bulgur Wheat
Remember reactions to foods can vary. So, while you’re crafting your GERD diet try keeping a food diary to track progress.
As always, discuss dietary changes with your doctor.
As we’ve seen, acid reflux disease (GERD) can lead to very serious health problems. If you can catch it in the early stages, it’s far easier to manage. Be sure to use all resources available so that you can properly maintain your health.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on your path to wellness. It’s important to us that we present complete, comprehensive guides on any topics we cover.
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