Home and natural remedies for acid reflux (heartburn)

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A person can try home remedies to treat or lessen the symptoms of acid reflux.

Quitting smoking

Smoking has a negative effect on health. However, people may be unaware that smoke, even secondhand smoke, can increase acid reflux.

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the valve between the esophagus, or food pipe, and stomach. The LES stops stomach acid from flowing back up into the esophagus.

According to a 2015 review, smoking reduces the pressure on the LES, making acid reflux possible. Quitting smoking should normalize this pressure, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux.

Learn tips to quit smoking here.

Using calming techniques

Focusing on the discomfort that acid reflux causes can lead to anxiety and worsen how a person feels.

Individuals experiencing anxiety can try box breathing techniques to manage the rapid breathing and dizziness that can occur with anxiety.

Although staying calm will not stop acid reflux, it can help a person avoid experiencing more severe symptoms.

Learn more about the link between acid reflux and anxiety here.

Avoiding trigger substances

People may find that certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux. This can be due to items increasing stomach acid production or reducing the LES’s ability to stop acid from flowing into the esophagus.

Eliminating these trigger items from the diet may help people reduce the frequency or severity of their acid reflux symptoms.

Common trigger substances include:

Learn which foods to avoid to minimize GERD symptoms here.

Adding ginger into the diet

Some research suggests that ginger may help with nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. However, the limited quality of included evidence means that more research is necessary to confirm these benefits.

Based on the existing evidence, researchers suggest a daily dose of 1,500 milligrams of ginger. It is possible that a higher intake could have adverse effects.

Ginger is an easy ingredient to incorporate into the diet. People can try:

  • adding it to hot water to make ginger tea
  • including it in a stir-fry
  • boiling it in a soup
  • grating it raw onto salads or cereals

Individuals who dislike the taste of ginger can mask it by including ginger in recipes with other strong flavors.

Learn more about the health benefits of ginger here.

Maintaining a moderate weight

Eating a balanced diet is key for a person’s general health, and it can also help them manage their body weight.

According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 – 2025, approximately 74% of all adults in the U.S. have overweight or obesity.

Research suggests that there is a link between having obesity and an increased risk of developing acid reflux.

The reason for the link seems to be that excess fat around the abdominal area puts pressure on the stomach, making the body work harder to keep acid down.

People with obesity may find that reaching and maintaining a moderate weight helps them reduce the frequency of acid reflux.

It is important that people focus on safe ways to lose weight, as losing too much weight too quickly may cause health problems.

Learn how to lose weight safely here.

Chewing sugar-free gum after meals

An older study from 2005 suggests that chewing gum can increase swallowing frequency, improving the clearance rate of reflux in the esophagus. However, there is no follow-up evidence to support this claim.

Chewing also boosts saliva production, which can help weaken stomach acid.

However, it is important to avoid chewing gums containing sugar, which may make the symptoms worse or cause dental erosion.

People with acid reflux should also avoid mint-flavored gums, such as peppermint and spearmint, as these may also aggravate symptoms.

Trying herbal tea

Some drinks, including coffee and alcohol, may increase the symptoms of acid reflux. Replacing these beverages with decaffeinated herbal teas may help reduce the likelihood of acid reflux occurring.

Herbal teas can also help improve digestion and ease symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.

Popular herbal teas include:

It is best to avoid mint teas, as they may trigger acid reflux.

Adding high fiber foods into the diet

Fiber is an important part of a balanced diet. It can help a person feel full and aid digestion, easing the symptoms of acid reflux.

Fiber rich foods that a person can start introducing into their diet include:

Learn more about the benefits of high fiber foods and how to include them in the diet here.

Keeping a food diary

Keeping a diary and tracking when acid reflux occurs can help a person feel more in control of their body.

In addition to their symptoms, they can note the foods that they have eaten and any changes to their behaviors or habits. This approach can help a person identify any acid reflux triggers, which they can then avoid where possible to prevent acid reflux from recurring.

If someone is unable to identify and eliminate factors that cause or worsen acid reflux or if they have concerns about their symptoms, they should contact a doctor. They may have GERD or another health condition. A doctor can diagnose the issue and help them devise a treatment plan.

Acid reflux, which health experts term GER, occurs when acid flows from the stomach up into the esophagus.

Certain diets can trigger acid reflux, and it is also more likely to affect pregnant people, those with asthma, and people who carry excess body weight.

If acid reflux occurs frequently, a person may have GERD, which can cause complications in the long term. Anyone who is concerned about their symptoms should consult a doctor.

Learn more about the differences between acid reflux, heartburn, GER, and GERD here.

Managing acid reflux during sleep time

Leaving a longer gap between a meal and going to bed gives the body more time to digest the food. Sitting up also helps the body digest food properly.

The proper digestion of food can decrease the likelihood of acid reflux. People experiencing acid reflux during sleep time should aim to eat their last meal at least 3 hours before lying down.

Learn more about acid reflux at night here.

Acid reflux with a sore throat

Acid reflux can irritate the lining of the throat and cause discomfort. This can result in:

Treatments to address the root cause of acid reflux will be the most effective in alleviating associated symptoms, such as a sore throat.

Learn more about acid reflux and sore throat here.



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