Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
If you’ve experienced the occasional bout of heartburn, you know how uncomfortable the painful burning sensation can be. The pain may be caused by the backflow of your stomach contents into your esophagus (the tube through which food is transported to your stomach), known as acid reflux, or it may be caused by a more severe or chronic form of reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Whether it’s a desire to go all-natural or to address heartburn symptoms that don’t respond to medication, some people turn to diet and lifestyle modifications and natural remedies to relieve symptoms.
Here’s a look at several remedies and lifestyle modifications that may help.
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, and steer clear of them. Here are some common food triggers:
- Coffee and tea
- Spicy food
- Beer, wine, and other forms of alcohol
- Fried or greasy foods
- Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
Some people find that sweets and high-glycemic index foods and meals that are too hot may trigger heartburn.1
Aim for Your Healthy Weight
Losing weight may help to reduce your heartburn symptoms. Speak with your healthcare provider about an eating and exercise plan that can help you reach a healthy weight.2
Take a Mindful Eating Approach
Eating quickly and overeating are correlated with heartburn and reflux.3 Sometimes you may not even realize that you’re eating quickly or eating after your body is signaling that it’s full. Practicing mindful-eating techniques may help you slow down and listen to what your body is telling you. Here’s how:
- Eliminate distractions at mealtime. Avoid reading, checking your phone, or watching television while you eat.
- Chew each bite thoroughly.
- Eat smaller meals rather than big meals. Overeating puts more pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter.
- Before each meal, take a moment to look at your meal. Observe what is on your plate and take in the smells. Also, take a moment to notice how hungry you are before you take your first bite.
Wait Before Going to Bed
Lying down too soon after meals can induce heartburn. Instead of lying down or going to bed soon after eating, try to eat at least three to four hours before bedtime.
Elevate the Head of Your Bed
In a small study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, people with night reflux were found to have reduced acid reflux (measured by esophageal acid exposure and acid clearance time) when the head end of their bed was elevated with a 20-centimeter block.4
Bed risers, wedge pillows, and mattress wedges (that fit between the mattress and box spring) are some ways to raise the head of the bed. Although some experts recommend raising the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches or more, raising the head of the bed can cause back and hip discomfort or pain in some people.
“Elevating the head while sleeping is usually only suggested for people with nighttime symptoms or symptoms that prevent them from sleeping.”
Sleep on Your Left Side
When it comes to your sleeping position, sleeping on your left side (called the “left lateral decubitus position”) may help you avoid nighttime heartburn.5
Avoid Tight-Waisted Clothing
Clothing with snug waistlines or belts put pressure on your stomach, which can lead to acid reflux. Try wearing pants that don’t cinch you in the waist (like lower-rise pants), pants with an elasticized waist, or moving up a pant size. If you wear skirts, try wearing dresses instead and seeing if it helps your reflux.
Ease Your Stress
While stress isn’t typically considered a cause of heartburn or reflux, it can trigger symptoms in some people. Additionally, severe life or physical stress may lead to heartburn symptoms, according to a report published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2004.6 In addition to seeking professional help, incorporating stress management techniques such as meditation and progressive muscle relaxation acid reflux into your daily routine may help.
Give Up Smoking
Since nicotine may weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (a band of muscle involved in closing off the esophagus and preventing acid reflux), quitting smoking may help shield you from heartburn.4 Natural Remedies to Help You Quit Smoking
Explore Natural Remedies
Remedies that are said to help with some heartburn and reflux include:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Aloe vera juice
- DGL licorice
- Slippery elm
A Word From Verywell
Changing your diet and lifestyle alone may be enough to keep your heartburn in check. While diet or lifestyle modifications may help soothe heartburn-related pain, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience regular or severe heart and burnacid reflux. Over time, heartburn-associated acid reflux may injure your esophagus and lead to complications.
If the pain is new to you, be aware that typical heartburn symptoms (such as pain in the throat/chest, regurgitation of food or liquid, sore throat, acid reflux and a sour taste in the mouth) may actually be caused by a serious underlying condition such as a heart attack. If you are experiencing pain in your chest for the first time, it’s important to consult a doctor immediately in order to be properly diagnosed.
Source: VERY WELL HEALTH