Heartburn is something that most people commonly experience during their lifetime. It is characterized by an uncomfortable burning sensation right behind the breastbone. The pain sometimes creeps up into the throat, and is a symptom more so than a disease.
Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, which occurs when the ring of muscle that allows food into your stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES) relaxes when it shouldn’t. The result is acid from your stomach goes back up your esophagus, which then causes the sensation of heartburn. Anything that increases pressure on your abdomen can push the contents of your stomach up into the esophagus. These can includes eating too much, obesity, and pregnancy.
Think about it…its acid burning your throat…ouch! It’s actually possible to have reflux without heartburn, but it is not possible to have heartburn without reflux. Occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, but frequent heartburn can lead to chronic digestive disorders. While over-the-counter and prescription medications are available natural remedies are the best.
Natural Remedies for Heartburn
Here are a few things you can do for heartburn relief that don’t involve over-the-counter prescriptions.
1. Pay Attention to The Foods That Cause Your Pain.
There are some certain common foods that causes heartburn’s but, everyone has different trigger foods. Keep record of the foods that seem to cause heartburn for you and try to avoid intake of those foods. Common foods that trigger heartburn’s includes: peppermint, caffeine, sodas, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, onions, and high-fat foods.
2. Drinking Water to Ease Heartburn
Water will wash the acid back down your esophagus into your stomach. It will also stabilize the body fluids and alleviate the symptoms of heartburn. As soon as you feel the telltale flicker of heartburn, drink about 250 mls of water. Take a small walk after drinking the water.
3. Chew Gum
One of the best natural remedies for heartburn is gum. Chewing gum increases your production of saliva. Because saliva is alkaline, it helps neutralize the acids in regurgitated foods that cause a burning sensation, giving you heartburn relief.
4. Sitting Upright to Relieve Heartburn
Heartburn is very uncomfortable but no matter how terrible you feel use gravity. Gravity is a powerful force, and if you’re standing, the earth’s pull helps keep acid in your stomach. Also, avoid bending over after a meal and definitely don’t lie down. Additionally, avoid lifting heavy weights right after eating or drinking something.
5. Avoid Eating Few Hours Before Bedtime
Plan to have your last meal of the day at least two to four hours before bedtime. This is because, your body requires about two hours to digest the food that you have eaten. If you lay down while there is undigested food in your stomach, you have a higher chance of getting burning sensations.
6. Eat Smaller, Slowly and Chew Properly
A study concluded that, eating food too quickly can increase the risk of heartburn. People who eat their food too fast are also more likely to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. Take your time to eat and chew well before swallowing. Also eat smaller, more frequent meals to minimize the production of stomach acid. Avoid eating too much in one sitting because doing so can force open the LES.
7. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises for Heartburn
Deep breathing is one of the heartburn natural remedies that anyone can do. Deep breathing exercises can reduce the amount of air swallowed and strengthen the muscles surrounding the lower esophageal sphincter. This relieves some acid reflux symptoms. And the breathing exercises are unbelievably simple: just breathe in deeply, breathe out slowly.
An Austrian study showed that breath-training exercises helped GERD sufferers, a chronic digestive disorder caused by acid reflux, “significantly” within four weeks. At a 9-month check-in, the participants who were still using the breathing exercises reported continued improvements in their acid reflux symptoms.
8. Ensure Adequate Rest
Stress may contribute to your heartburn symptoms by causing your stomach to produce more stomach acid. Practice relaxation techniques into your daily routine, especially after you eat. Try meditation, yoga, massage, deep breathing.
9. Change Your Sleeping Position
If you regularly suffer from night-time heartburn, try any of these two positions: either sleeping on your left side or sleeping with your upper body elevated. Elevate the head of your bed 10 to 15 centimetres with large wooden blocks. Try one or both of these sleep positions to see if either one helps to relieve your heartburn. Because, when you’re tilted at an angle while sleeping, gravity helps keep acid in the stomach.
10. Maintain Your Weight to Reduce Heartburn Occurrence
Being overweight is a contributor to heartburn’s because the excess fat on your abdomen. It puts pressure on your stomach and may force your stomach contents back up into your esophagus. Even a small weight loss of about 5 to 10% of your body weight, may help relieve heartburn’s.
11. Wear Loose Fitting Clothes
Tight dresses and belts may be contributing to your heartburn by causing too much pressure on your abdomen and causing your stomach contents to back up. Make sure that your dresses fit comfortably and your belt not too tight.
12. Eat High Protein Diet and Avoid Fatty Diet
Meals packed with protein have been shown to increase the lower esophageal sphincter’s pressure. This makes it stronger against acid reflux and one of the best remedies for heartburn. Fatty foods, however, decrease pressure on the LES, making acid reflux and heartburn more likely.
13. Quit Smoking
Smoking does not only cause cancer and many other health problems, which may also be the cause of your heartburn. Smoking has been linked with heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Studies have found that smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that keeps your stomach contents from backing up into your esophagus. A weakened lower esophageal sphincter is more likely to allow stomach acids to escape and cause damage to your esophagus.
14. Avoid Alcohol
Like cigarettes, alcohol weakens the valve between your stomach and esophagus. Additionally, alcohol causes your stomach to produce an excess of stomach acid. This can cause severe stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
For mild heartburn, try easing the uncomfortable ache with one of these simple natural remedies.