Acid reflux (also known a GERD) is a common problem for people all over the world, with almost 20 million people suffering from the condition in the US alone.. Indeed, most of us will remember having suffered the sickly burning sensations in our recent past. In fact, for many people, acid reflux is a seriously inconvenient problem that occurs several times a week or even every day. In this article, we will look at some quick and easy tricks to help you avoid those horrible symptoms.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, acid indigestion, or GERD, is a condition that occurs when acidic stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus. As you may know, this causes some nasty burning pains in the lower chest that can be uncomfortable for hours. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to acid reflux, but the most common causes are obesity, smoking, and eating too quickly.
Below are details of some treatments and tricks that can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of this uncomfortable condition:
Studies have found that obesity is an important risk factor for the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Overeating any type of food can mean more acid bubbling up uncomfortably into your esophagus. However, food with high fat content is likely to make you more susceptible to heartburn, so eating lots of pizza and cheeseburgers will likely lead to heartburn and also produce gases that will give you that horrible bloated feeling.
Avoid acidic food and drinks
This includes any citrus fruits and vegetables like onions, too much vinegar in your food, and other acidic condiments. For drinks, this involves many alcoholic cocktails, as many of the classic recipes are quite acidic. But it’s not just the elaborate tropical cocktails as all types of alcoholic drinks can contribute to horrible heartburn the morning after.
A surprising one perhaps, but chewing gum has been seen to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. When you chew gum, it increases saliva production, which makes you swallow more. This helps to reduce the harmful acid in your stomach. For an even more beneficial technique, find some chewing gum with bicarbonate of soda as this will help neutralize the acids even more.
Raise your head in bed
Elevating your head during sleep is known to be an effective and immediate acid reflux treatment. By using gravity to reduce the surge of acid into your esophagus, you can help eliminate persistent symptoms that could prevent your sleeping properly. It has been suggested that sufferers should use a wedge under their mattress or extra pillows in bed to elevate the top half of the body. Raising your head just 4-6 inches could make all the difference.
Don’t sleep on your right side
Studies have shown that sleeping on your right side is likely to worsen the symptoms of acid reflux, whereas sleeping on your left side can help alleviate your symptoms. It is a bit of a mystery as to why this simple technique seems to work so well. However, there has been speculation that resting on your right side will prompt the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. This is a tight ring of muscles that connecting the stomach and esophagus that normally defends against the acid reflux, so when this is relaxed, more acid is likely to be able to rise into your esophagus.
Medicinal acid reflux treatments
There are many great products out there for helping those suffering from acid reflux. From pills and lozenges to chalky melt-in-the-mouth soothers, medicines like these can be a little expensive but worth trying if you are experiencing a lot of acid reflux. Those who experience more severe symptoms may want to consider the stronger acid reflux treatments only available from pharmacies.
Homeopathic acid reflux treatments
In addition to these medicinal treatments, some homeopathic remedies can also help a lot. In fact, many of these herbs and remedies are regularly included in the medicinal therapies mentioned above. A few homeopathic remedies you should consider for acid reflux are ginger, aloe vera juice, bananas, turmeric, licorice, honey, and marshmallow.