Do you experience acid reflux? It is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus or throat, commonly referred to as heartburn. Technically, it is just a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This is not necessarily serious, but if left untreated, may have serious consequences. The good thing is that in most cases, acid reflux responds to treatment and medication. Lifestyle changes can also help in solving this problem.
Surgical procedures are not necessary, but they may provide relief if done. However, this must be done only after thorough consideration and advice by your physician. The moment you start to feel postnasal drip, difficulty in swallowing or excessive stomach pain, you may already suffer from this problem. There are some of acid reflux remedies you can try.
1. Change your lifestyle
Acid reflux is mostly a problem related to lifestyle. Your choice of foods for instance could affect the acidity level in the digestive system. Hence, you need to avoid eating spicy foods, dishes that are rich in garlic and onion, fried foods, citric fruits, and mint. For some cases, eating these dishes causes immediate reaction and it doesn’t feel good.
Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. They loosen the sphincter, which controls the passage of the food you take from the esophagus going to the stomach. They also aggravate the pain the moment you ingest them.
Eat in smaller quantities more frequently. Instead of eating one huge meal, you can eat in smaller portions. This allows your digestive system to have a more efficient operation. This prevents acid from building up. If possible, you have to limit the serving size and wait until you feel hungry before eating again.
Take note of the time when you eat. If possible, you must not anymore eat three hours before you go to bed. You should also wait for some time before you lie down. If you want to prevent the backflow of stomach acid while sleeping, you can adjust your bed so that it tilts slightly upward.
Most of all, you need to lose weight. Obesity is a major factor leading to acid reflux. The extra weight you have put on places more pressure on your esophagus. This causes the acid to rise back up. You have to start dieting and exercising now. Find a way to have more physical activities. You can enroll in the gym or attend boxing classes. As long as you find a way to gradually lose weight, it is good enough.
2. Over-the-counter heartburn medicine
If you can’t take the pain, try an over-the-counter medicine. There are treatments available like Alka-Seltzer or Tums to ease the pain. They also help reverse severe heartburn. However, if possible, you have to consult your physician for advice. You may also take Omeprazole, which helps prevent the production of stomach acid. The continuous intake of these medications does not only help ease acid reflux problems, but may also help repair the damage on the esophageal lining. Take note though that there are other brands that require prescription.
3. The natural remedies
If you don’t want to take medicines, you might want to go for natural options. Some of them can even be prepared at home. For instance, you can take 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water. The properties present in the baking soda help balance out the acid in your stomach. You may also eat raw almonds, which help balancing your body’s pH level.
Apple cider vinegar may also be an effective alternative. It aids in digestion. Drinking a few teaspoons each day helps a lot. If you are a tea lover, choose chamomile tea. It also helps reduce the acid level in your body. Aloe vera juice is also an option if you are not a fan of tea.
Chewing a gum might also be a trick you don’t know. Chew a sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after eating. This helps because it stimulates the salivary glands. This also increases the flow of saliva. Therefore, if acid builds up, it is immediately diluted or washed away. It is the presence of saliva that actually makes acid reflux painless.
When it comes to food, choose those that are considered antacids. Bananas and apples are great options. You can eat them right after a meal or a couple of hours before sleeping to help relieve you from pain. It may also help to undergo a total colon cleanse. This means that you have to totally stop eating prohibited foods until your digestive system feels clean and ready. Try a juice cleansing diet where you only drink natural fruit juices for 2-3 days. Be careful not to choose fruits that have high acidity.
4. The surgical option
This is not the best advice, but you may have to resort to this if the pain is recurring and it just doesn’t go away. You need to go through a series of tests though. Your acid reflux might be caused by other illnesses. For instance, those with hiatal hernia have to undergo surgery to correct the problem. Traditional surgery involves reconstructing the opening of the stomach to block acid reflux.
If you want a less evasive option, choose one where endoscopic tubes are used. It helps remove damaged tissues. Again, you need to consult with your physician first. These surgeries don’t guarantee success, however, they might be the last resort if the pain just keeps coming back.
Acid reflux is not necessarily a big issue, but it can also be an indicator of a bigger problem. It may also get worse if you don’t do anything about it. Now that you understand the dangers that come with it, you have to change your lifestyle and be consistent with it, and seek for medical advice.