If a heartburn has struck you at the most inopportune times like right when you were about to kiss your date goodbye, or just before the job interview then, trust us, you need to continue reading this piece.
What exactly is heartburn?
Well, it all started when your teenage got over, a stressful lifestyle took over and your metabolism started falling and your digestive system was not strong and fast enough to break the spicy, fatty food down. Acid reflux or heartburn or GERD is a common problem that around 60% of the American population suffers from. And, we all know it is so not good.
Heartburn is actually the irritating, burning pain you feel in your throat and the congestion you experience in your chest right after a hiccup. Heartburn happens when acid in the stomach backs up into the food pipe and then to the throat. As gross and unpleasant it may sound, heartburn brings with it the contents of the stomach all the way up your throat.
As an adult, we all might have suffered from a heartburn at least once in our lives and are well aware of the over the counter prescriptions that are available to our rescue. However, instead of running errands to buy these prescriptions every now and then, you could find some quick alternatives to relieve you of the burn at home itself.
How to get rid of heartburn?
Let’s quickly jump to the solutions you must stick to the next time if suffering from a heartburn.
PS: A few of them might help you get rid of it altogether (It goes without saying, diet and your body’s health matters the most.)
Quick remedies to escape heartburn:
1. Baking soda
Baking soda is a popular remedy that comes to your aid in such acid reflux situations. A remedy to work for almost everyone, it offers quick relief to those suffering any heartburn. Being basic in nature, baking soda neutralizes the acid in your esophagus or stomach.
How to use baking soda for heartburn: Consuming baking soda is quick and easy. Mix about half a teaspoon of baking soda with one fourth cup of water. Drink this effervescent mixture before the fizz escapes. Wait for five to seven minutes and you should be able to see results with constant burps. If necessary, repeat until burning reduces.
Note: If you are prone to suffering from heartburn often, it is advised that baking soda should not be your go-to remedy. It is high in salt and can cause side effects like nausea and swelling.
2. Chew gum
Besides eliminating bad breath, chewing a gum after a wholesome meal might also prove to be effective in reducing the acid reflux. Chewing the gum would stimulate saliva that washes away acid in the gut and clears the food pipe quickly. This, in turn, improves heartburn symptoms.
3. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera plant possesses properties that can soothe burns. Similarly, aloe vera juice can help you reduce inflammation in the stomach. Drink about one fourth cup of aloe vera juice (dilute with water if you want to) before any meal.
Note: Aloe vera juices, typically, have a laxative component. You can opt for juices where the laxative component has been removed.
4. Over the counter medications
Typically, people suffering from heartburn prefer consuming antacids or PPIs or H2 blockers, but carrying them all along to work, in the car, at parties or at family dinners can be embarrassing.
5. Start your day with lukewarm water and lemon
This magical mixture of lukewarm water and lemon helps in clearing the ducts and acid stained within them. Drinking this super safe mixture, empty stomach in the morning, can aid in reducing the chances of acid reflux throughout the day. Moreover, this mixture is extremely powerful in helping you reduce weight and cholesterol levels in the body.
6. Apple cider vinegar
While most you might wonder that acid reflux or GERD is a result of excessive acid produced in the body, however, studies show that it is quite the opposite. Because enough acid is not produced by the body, hence, there is a reflux.
How to use apple cider vinegar for heartburn: Take in two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and mix it in a cup of water. Drink this mixture and wait for five minutes. Repeat the process if the heartburn still exists. You could take it thirty minutes before the meal to preempt the acid reflux.
7. Drink tea
Yes, drink tea. However, not the milk based tea. Drink chamomile, fenugreek, green, or mint tea. Do not add sugar to your tea. Instead, you could add honey. Drink it while it is still lukewarm. For better results, you could consider adding freshly squeezed lemon juice and ginger to it too.
Precautions you must take to reduce the frequency of heartburns:
8. Elevate your body
Those who are prone to acid reflux at night time, this could probably help you relieve the heartburn. Many doctors have suggested that one should sleep on an inclined base. This will help in keeping the contents of the stomach in the stomach. Instead of adding pillows below your head, add wooden planks under your mattress for the inclined base.
9. Sleep on your left
There has been evidence that sleeping on your left helps in reducing night time acid reflux. A research published by JAMA Internal Medicine in 2008 shows sleeping on your right might aggravate the symptoms of acid reflux.
10. Lose weight
Heartburn often gets terrible when you gain weight. As per studies, losing weight can help you reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
11. Eat carefully
Heartburn is usually triggered because of the foods that you eat. Identify the types of food that instigate the irritation in your body. Foods like caffeine, soda, chocolates, juices and citrus fruits, milk, garlic, onions, tomatoes, high-fat foods and peppermint.
You should also consume fiber rich food to ensure a healthy digestive tract. Eat in gaps, having about four to five meals in a day, instead of three big ones. Eating a full meal at once might trigger heart burns, especially at night. Reduce the sizes of the portion you intake.
12. Eat timely
Your body needs time to digest the food you eat. Food rich in fat and protein may take a higher amount of time to break down than food rich in fiber. It is important that you time your diet based on your body metabolism.
Also, take short walks throughout the day and stretch often for your muscles to relax. Steer away from late night meals. Ideally, you should eat at least two to three hours before sleeping. This helps in breaking down the food and emptying stomach before you lie down.
13. Maintain a record
Keep a diary where you write down what you ate throughout the day, when did you eat last and when did your heartburn trigger. Mention the symptoms that occurred. Ensure you avoid or monitor the intake of such foods.
14. Watch your liquor intake
Liquor too can instigate heartburn, especially the hard drinks like whiskey and scotch, when not diluted with soda. Drink wisely and avoid consuming liquor empty stomach. It is also advised that you should not consume it neat or on the rocks.
15. Dress freely and comfortably
Loosen your clothing and ditch fitted dresses or jeans. Tight clothes add pressure on the abdomen and can trigger pain and heartburn.
16. Quit / Reduce Smoking
Smoking is known to reduce muscle effectiveness. The acid stays in the stomach when esophagus muscles are relaxed. Hence, if you can, then quit smoking. If not, then there is a considerable scope of tossing a few cigarettes during this time.
17. Get your medications checked
While it is food that primarily triggers heartburn in most cases, yet, it could also be your medicine that could be disturbing your system. Prescriptions such as blood pressure drugs, osteoporosis drugs, asthma medication, antibiotics can either trigger or worsen the heartburn. It is advised that you visit your doctor and get your prescriptions checked before continuing the course further.
18. Essential oils
When experimenting with the natural remedies that cure your acid reflux, you may also want to try the essential oils of ginger, peppermint, lemon and wild orange. All you need to do is ingest a drop or two of the essential oil in a glass of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of honey.
When should you see a doctor in case of heartburn?
Mild heartburn attacks are generally curable and with the right remedies can subside in a day or two. However, if lifestyle changes and remedies seem to do no good, it is important to consult your medical practitioner. Reach out to your doctor in case of any of the following reasons:
- Your heartburn does not seem to improve despite the home remedies and over the counter medicines
- Your heartburn is causing trouble in swallowing food or liquid
- Your heartburn is causing vomiting
- Your heartburn subsides only with antacids and
- You rely on some or the other remedy every day to prevent acid reflux
It is important that you do not ignore the persistent GERD or heartburn attacks. They could be a sign of infection in the gallbladder, poor digestive system, or any other disease. If left untreated, heartburn can damage the esophagus and without the right prescriptions at the right time, it may also lead to esophagus cancer.
Were you taking the signs your body is giving you lightly? Be careful. It is always important to get yourself checked and tested at the right time to ensure problems as little as this do not impact the entire system of your body.
While it is good to rely on these remedies for relief, it is also important to cure the root cause of heartburn and we advise you to take your health seriously. Know of more such solutions to aid acid reflux? Share them with us.