Everyone will experience Heartburn, Acid Reflux or GERD at some point in their lives. Heartburn affects around 60 million Americans each month according to research done by the American College of Gastroenterology. Heartburn, Acid reflux and GERD can be easily managed with home remedies.
Firstly we have to understand whether all these three conditions are the same or what is the difference between them.
Heartburn is a symptom you feel when the acid in your stomach comes up in your food pipe (esophagus). The acid burns and damages your food pipe and you feel a burning sensation in your throat and chest. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. Heartburn is a symptom of Acid Reflux.
Acid Reflux is the movement of your Stomach Acid up your food pipe (esophagus) and throat.
Persistent Acid Reflux changes the mechanism of your muscles. There is a valve where your stomach and food pipe (esophagus) meet together known as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).
GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease)
Constant heartburn due to the acid coming up from your stomach damages the LES. The function of the LES is to close after we stop eating our food and stay closed at all times. A normal working LES will only open automatically when you start biting your food and the food starts to pass down your esophagus.
But the LES becomes weak and loose due to the constant damage because of the Acid so it starts to malfunction. This weakening of the LES and constant Acid Reflux happening because of a weak LES sphincter is called Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
GERD is basically the term used for someone who has a chronic acid reflux. Basically, due to the Acid Reflux, the LES valve does not close properly all the time thus allowing very little acid to pass up in the esophagus causing Heartburn and other symptoms like nausea, sour belching, bitter taste in the mouth, sore throat, cough, etc.
All this starts with unhealthy eating and bad lifestyle habits. Eating large meals and too much fried, fatty and spicy food is the main culprit that starts your acid reflux. You should only eat these junk foods in moderation and try to stay on a healthy diet. Go for these junk foods only once a week or if you want to have more, than eat in moderation but don’t eat regularly otherwise you will be on the way to GERD.
Main Causes of Acid Reflux
- Over eating or eating large meals
- Consuming Alcohol
- Eating late at night near your bedtime
- Having too much fried, fatty and spicy foods in your regular diet
- Smoking also weakens the LES valve
- Certain medications like some pain killers also make your stomach more acidic and trigger acid reflux
- A certain type of Hernia known as a Hiatus Hernia
- Being too much overweight
- Having no exercise and being a couch potato
Common Symptoms of Acid Reflux and GERD
- Heartburn or burning of the food pipe and throat
- Acid and Food Regurgitation, the movement of undigested foods and stomach acid from your stomach to your esophagus up till your throat and mouth
- Dyspepsia or Indigestion of food
- Stomach and Chest Pains
- A Breathless feeling during sleep or Asthmatic Symptoms
- Unable to sleep because of disturbance in the body caused by the Acid reflux
- Chronic Cough accompanied by a Chronic Sore Throat and Hoarseness especially first thing in the morning upon waking up
- Erosion of the teeth due to the stomach acid which travels to the mouth
- Weight loss without any reason
- Feels like something is stuck in the back of your throat
- Having difficulty swallowing food
In allopathic medicine the treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD is done by suppressing the acid in your stomach. Less acid means less heartburn. But the production of acid is a natural system of our bodies and acid is very important to protect our stomach from many types of bad bacteria and is very important for the digestion of food. These medicines do provide relief but have to be taken permanently with someone with GERD or at least long term for 2 to 3 months or more. There are many side effects associated with the long term use of these medicines. It’s best to avoid these medicines as much as possible and go for the natural remedies to manage your GERD.
Medicines Most Commonly Used
- Antacids which neutralize the stomach acid
- H2 Blockers which slow the production of the stomach acid
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) which reduce the production of acid in the stomach
Home Remedies for Acid Reflux and GERD
- Don’t eat large meals. Distribute your meals to 5 times a day rather than eating large meals 3 times in your day
- Quit Smoking as it damages and weakens your LES valve
- Avoid Alcohol as it increases the acid production in your stomach
- Stop eating citrus foods which are acidic in nature like lemon, tomatoes, oranges etc
- Don’t drink tea and coffee as the caffeine in it also increases the acid in your stomach
- Stay away from fatty, fried and spicy foods and limit them to once a week
- Raise the head of your bed by six to eight inches. This will help you in the nighttime reflux
- Stop eating your food 3 to 4 hours before bedtime
- Don’t lie down after eating. Wait for at least 2 to 3 hours
- Don’t wear clothes that are too tight around the waist
- If you are overweight, reducing your weight will help a lot
- Start a regular exercise routine. Follow a moderate-intensity exercise routine for best results
- Take 1/2 a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda) with water when you’re experiencing heartburn. It will neutralize your stomach acid. But do take in moderation
- Take 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 teaspoon of natural honey with water. It will help a lot with people who have GERD or Acid Reflux because of low acid production
- Take a digestive enzyme supplement regularly
- Take probiotics and eat natural plain yogurt
- Always sleep on your left side. This will keep the acid from coming up
These natural and lifestyle remedies should be adopted by all Acid Reflux/GERD sufferers and also by those who don’t suffer from Acid Reflux/GERD so that they can avoid the development of Heartburn, GERD and Acid Reflux in the first place.
Homeopathic Medicines used to treat Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD
- If your Heartburn gets better by hot or warm drinks then this is the remedy to go for
- Cannot bear the sight and smell of food
- Will feel better by drinking hot beverages
- Will be thirsty in need for small, frequent sips of water
- Burning pain in the stomach all the way up till the throat
- Heartburn, Acid and Food Regurgitation in the throat and mouth
- Dyspepsia from vinegar, ice cream, cold water and tobacco
- Vomiting soon after eating or drinking
- Burning in the upper abdomen
- For Bloating along with Heartburn
- Sour belching that gets worse after drinking or eating
- Burning sensation in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Excessive gas and chest pain due to gas
- For Heartburn triggered by the intake of alcohol, coffee or spicy foods.
- The main complaint for which Nux Vomica is very effective is the burning in the mid upper abdomen and chest with acid risings
- The mouth also fills with bitter acid eructation’s
- For Acid Reflux accompanied by a cough. Very useful for a nighttime cough that occurs because of gastric issues. This cough is worst at night and makes sleeping difficult
- Nausea and Vomiting happens because of excessive coughing
- Throat seems sore and raw. There is a pain while swallowing
- Burning in the throat especially at night time
- Regurgitation of food along with heartburn and sour belching
- Nux Vomica is also very good for people who have constipation
- Heartburn which gets worse on lying down at night
- Intense Heartburn worse at night
- Bitter/Sour Belching and Vomiting
- Burning in the chest and stomach
- Headaches because of heartburn are relieved by Robinia
- Constant eructation’s of a very sour fluid
- Nausea followed by vomiting of sour fluid
- Pain in stomach
- Sleeplessness due to heartburn at night
- For Sour and Bitter Belching
- Vomiting of Sour bitter substance that burns the throat
- Burning sensation in the throat along with Heartburn
- Burning pain in the part above the stomach
- Excessive Indigestion and Constant Nausea
- Burning throughout the Gastrointestinal Tract from the mouth to the anus
- Also very effective for a Headache arising with Acidity and Nausea
- Heartburn along with Sour Belching and Sour Vomiting
- For Heartburn and difficulty in swallowing
- Burning in chest and mid upper abdomen
- Vomiting of a sour, cheesy or curdled matter
- Sour Belching
- Loss in appetite
- A sensation of a Lump in the throat
- Heartburn triggered by eating foods that are too sweet
- Best for Heartburn triggered by fatty and fried food
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Bitter and Sour Vomit
- Belching acid and sour taste in the mouth
- Flatulence and burning sensation in the stomach
- Overstuffed after eating
- Craving for ice cream and fatty foods which make the symptoms worse
I am a GERD sufferer from more than 20 years. I have done a great amount of research on it and now I want to help other people also by sharing my experiences and research.
You will really benefit from this article. It will help you in finding relief to your Chronic Heartburn, Acid reflux and GERD. Making lifestyle changes and eating healthy will get rid you of Acid Reflux and help you to manage your Chronic GERD as well. I hope it helps you lead a healthy and happy life.