Heartburn is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States. According to an update in the National Library of Medicine, about 60 million adults in the U.S. experience heartburn at least once a month. Statista updates (in 2015) show of 26 % of the population is affected. The most common reason for heartburn is acid reflux. These numbers include acid reflux in babies as well. Acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, is the most common cause of heartburn.
While heartburn can be uncomfortable, it is usually not a serious condition. However, if heartburn is frequent or severe, it can be a sign of a more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you experience frequent or severe heartburn, you should see a doctor for an evaluation.
There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help to relieve heartburn, but there are also home remedies for heartburn that can be effective. Some home remedies for heartburn relief include eating smaller meals, avoiding trigger foods, sleeping with the head elevated, and taking baking soda or apple cider vinegar. This article targets how best to use available home remedies for heartburn. Let us now go into details.
Table of Contents
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning sensation right behind the breastbone of your chest. This uneasiness is often stronger just after eating, during the night, or when lying down. It can last from minutes to a few hours. Heartburn is prevalent but not the reason for concern.
The majority of people may manage their discomfort on their own by making lifestyle modifications and taking over-the-counter drugs.
Most Common Causes of Heartburn
There are many possible causes of heartburn, but the most common is a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach.
The LES is a one-way valve that normally opens to allow food and liquids to pass into the stomach and then closes to prevent them from flowing back up into the esophagus. However, in people with GERD, the LES either relaxes too often or does not close tight enough. This allows stomach contents, including acid and digestive juices, to flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Gastroparesis disease also can cause heartburn. It is a disease in which the stomach can’t empty itself of food in a normal way. This issue is normally addressed with a gastroparesis meal plan and with some home remedies.
Other possible causes of heartburn include:
- Eating large meals or lying down right after eating
- Eating certain foods, such as spicy, fatty, or acidic foods
- Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated beverages, or coffee
- Being overweight or obese
- Wearing tight-fitting clothing
- Taking certain medications, such as ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, or calcium channel blockers
Heartburn symptoms may include a burning feeling in the chest, a sour taste in the mouth, and burping. Other symptoms may include pain in the throat, trouble swallowing, and a feeling of fullness or a lump in the throat.
Stomach acidity is the one that produces a sour taste when it reaches the mouth. You may want to look at the remedies to confront stomach acidity for quicker relief.
Lifestyle Adjustments + Home Remedies For Acidity and Heartburn
How to get rid of heartburn fast at home? There are a few things you can do. The main focus should be on lifestyle adjustments. Your lifestyle adjustments are the main home remedies for heartburn and acid reflux that you should practice. Read the last remedy which I do every day even if I forget all the other remedies. It ensures good sleep for me.
1. Avoid Trigger Foods and Beverages
There are a few common trigger foods and beverages for heartburn. The common trigger foods include:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Spicy foods
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products
- Fatty or fried foods
- Coffee or tea
- Carbonated drinks
Caffeine can also be a problem for some people. It is better to stay away from coffee if you experience heartburn after drinking it.
2. Eat Smaller Meals
Eating smaller meals more often throughout the day can help reduce heartburn. When the stomach is full, it is under more pressure, which can lead to the opening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the escape of stomach contents into the esophagus.
By eating smaller meals, you can avoid putting too much pressure on the LES and reduce the risk of heartburn.
3. Avoid Eating Late At Night
Eating late at night can exacerbate heartburn for a number of reasons:
First, gravity plays a role in keeping stomach contents where they belong in the stomach. When you lie down, gravity is no longer working in your favor, and stomach contents can more easily rise into the esophagus and can cause irritation.
Second, late-night eating can contribute to weight gain, and being overweight is a risk factor for heartburn.
Finally, eating close to bedtime can mean that you go to bed with a full stomach, which can increase the likelihood of heartburn during the night.
4. Stay Upright for a Few Hours After Eating
To help prevent heartburn, it’s important to stay upright for a few hours after eating. This allows gravity to keep the acid in your stomach, where it belongs. If you lie down too soon after eating, the acid can easily reflux back up into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
So, the next time you eat, be sure to stay upright for at least a little while afterward eating your meal.
5. Wearing Loose Fitting Clothing
Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help prevent heartburn.
When clothing is tight around the waist, it can put pressure on the stomach. Eventually, it causes stomach acid to be pushed up into the esophagus. This results in heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Loose-fitting clothing, on the other hand, will not put as much pressure on the stomach and can help to avoid heartburn.
6. Avoid Lying Down Immediately After Eating
One way to help ease heartburn is to avoid lying down immediately after eating. When you lie down, stomach acid can more easily move up into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
So, try to wait at least a few hours after eating before you lie down. Additionally, prop your head up with pillows when you do lie down to sleep or rest so that your head is above your stomach and stomach acid stays put.
7. Elevate the Head of Your Bed
One simple solution is to elevate the head of your bed. This can help reduce the amount of acid that refluxes into your esophagus.
You can prop up your bed with pillows or buy a special acid-reflux wedge pillow that goes under your mattress. Just be sure to use a wedge that is at least six inches high. You can also put some pillows under your knees to help keep your spine in alignment.
Elevating the head of your bed can help ease heartburn by keeping stomach acid from rising into your esophagus.
8. Sleep Side Ways to the Left
Look at the digestive anatomy above. You will find our stomach is positioned on the left side of the body. When you sleep on the left side the stomach acid remains inside the stomach. Sleeping on the left side helps reduce reflux symptoms due to gravity, the shape of the stomach, and the angle between the stomach and the food pipe.
This is one of the best home remedies for heartburn for me. It relieves heartburn and a night of good sleep at least. In my case, I do not get heartburn often. However, I practice this remedy whenever I get or feel heartburn at night. Remember this method is not a complete cure for heartburn. But it gives you greater relief.
Over-the-Counter Antacids or Medications Help Ease Heartburn
There are many over-the-counter heartburn treatments that can help ease the burning sensation. Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid. H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) block acid production.
If you experience heartburn regularly, you may need a stronger medication. Talk to your doctor about which medication is right for you.
Heartburn is a condition in which the stomach contents regurgitate back up through the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat.
Home remedies for heartburn can help to provide relief from this uncomfortable condition. Some simple measures include (as discussed above) avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and avoiding lying down immediately after eating.
Over-the-counter antacids may also be helpful in relieving symptoms. If home remedies for heartburn do not provide relief, it is important to see a doctor. Prolonging heartburn may be a sign of a more serious condition.
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- Home Remedies For Heartburn: What you Need to know by MedlinePlus
- Heartburn by Mayo Clinic
- How can changes in my eating habits improve GERD symptoms? by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Leading health complaints reported by male consumers in the United States as of summer 2015 by Statista
- Heartburn Keeping You Up at Night? by Canadian Society of Intestinal Research
- Acid Reflux by American College of Gastroenterology