Natural Remedies for Heartburn and Acid Reflux

What is heartburn? Symptoms of heartburn include burning chest pains, bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth, wheezing, dry coughing, hoarseness, sore throat, and belching. The burning chest sensation may get worse after eating when lying down, or when bending over. It is estimated that 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month.

Heartburn is one of the symptoms of acid reflux disease when acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus. Acid reflux disease is also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Heartburn lasting two or more days a week is the most common symptom of acid reflux disease.

If left untreated, GERD may cause damage to the esophagus lining and lead to swelling and narrowing. This will cause problems in swallowing. Acid reflux disease also increases the risk of esophageal cancer.

Natural Remedies for Heartburn and Acid Reflux

What causes heartburn? Medical professionals believe that stomach acid is allowed to flow back into the esophagus due to a weak muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter or that its relaxation timing is off. When your digestive system is working correctly every time you swallow food, the walls of your esophagus contract to push the food down into your stomach. A muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens automatically to let food into the stomach and closes again to keep food and stomach acid from backing up into your esophagus. If the LES is weak or it relaxes at the wrong time, stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. This is called reflux. When stomach acid touches the lining of your esophagus, it creates a burning sensation in your chest or throat. This is called heartburn.

Acid reflux treatments include prescription drugs that reduce the symptoms of heartburn. These medications can be effective but you run the risk of negative reactions to the medication. Cost may also be a consideration when you choose to use prescription medication. However, natural remedies that can help reduce the symptoms of heartburn are available. As with any activity that may affect your health, it is important that you consult your doctor first before any diet or lifestyle changes.

A simple remedy to avoid getting heartburn is to avoid the foods that cause heartburn. Foods to avoid are greasy, spicy, and acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, sodas and carbonated drinks and raw onions. Alcohol and smoking may also increase the incidence of acid reflux problems. Quitting smoking will drastically reduce your heartburn symptoms. The nicotine in tobacco can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, which keeps the contents of the stomach from backing up into the esophagus and causing heartburn.

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Another simple remedy to avoid getting heartburn involving foods is to eat smaller serving sizes and to avoid eating to close to bedtime. When you are eating, try to slow down to avoid swallowing too much air, and chew your food thoroughly so that the food is easier to digest in your stomach and is mostly digested when you are ready for bed. This simple change in your eating habits will make it less likely that you will suffer from heartburn.

It may be good practice to keep a food diary if you want to know precisely the foods that cause your heartburn. Heartburn is treatable and natural heartburn remedies are effective and inexpensive. Here are several natural remedies that are effective in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux:

Apple cider vinegar. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, one teaspoon of honey, and 1 cup of water. Sip this drink while eating your meal. You can also take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar as-is without adding water. Aloe Vera juice helps with the healing of the damaged esophagus and intestinal tract and provides relief for the symptoms of heartburn. Drink one-fourth cup of Aloe Vera juice about twenty minutes before a meal. Use only Aloe Vera gels or juices that are purposely formulated for consumption.

Slippery Elm is another natural remedy for heartburn that is effective. The inner bark of the slippery elm contains mucilage which is a gel-like substance that swells when mixed with water. This substance can coat the esophagus and relieve irritation.

Heartburn symptoms can be brought under control without resorting to possible harmful prescription medications. But it is vital that you let your physician know you are experiencing these symptoms and that you plan on getting rid of your heartburn naturally and keep him updated so that he can monitor your progress.

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