Heartburn can be triggered by the foods you eat, or it may be the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Heartburn can be uncomfortable, as it causes a burning sensation in the chest when stomach acids back up into the esophagus.
Here are 15 natural ways to relieve heartburn and alleviate symptoms.
15 home remedies for heartburn
- Cool water: Taking sips of cold water may help alleviate the burning sensation.
- Cold milk: Calcium in milk helps maintain your body’s pH balance and aids in digestion.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk contains lactic acid that helps neutralize stomach acidity.
- Ice cream: Eating ice cream is a delicious and effective way to combat heartburn.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon works as a natural antacid and can soothe the stomach by improving digestion and absorption.
- Bananas: Bananas are extremely beneficial for the stomach lining because of its high fiber and potassium content, which helps with mucus production in the stomach, thus preventing excess acid formation.
- Ginger: Ginger helps reduce acids and decreases inflammation.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe an irritated esophagus.
- Basil leaves: Basil leaves stimulate the stomach to produce more mucus, which in turn helps relieve heartburn.
- Fennel seeds: Fennel contains anethole, an anti-inflammatory that can relax the stomach walls.
- Pineapple juice: Pineapple juice contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps control levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
- Almonds: Almonds are rich in natural oils, which soothe and neutralize acidity.
- Jaggery: Jaggery is a sugar substitute with high magnesium content, which helps balance stomach acidity
- Baking soda: A little baking soda mixed with water can reduce acid secretion in the stomach.
- Chewing gum: Gum stimulates the flow of saliva, which in turn keeps acid levels down and balances pH levels.
What causes heartburn?
Heartburn may be a result of weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter located at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach, which acts as a barrier that blocks acidic contents of the stomach from flowing up into the esophagus.
Food passes down the esophagus and is digested by the acids produced by gastric glands in the inner lining of the stomach. Excess secretion of acids from the gastric glands can be triggered by:
- Spicy, fatty, heavy foods
- Acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, and chocolate
- Alcohol consumption
- Lack of sleep
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, hiatal hernia, peptic ulcers, connective tissue disorders, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, blood pressure medications, etc.
How is acid reflux diagnosed?
- Gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy: Involves inserting a small, flexible tube with a camera through the mouth to view the GI tract.
- Ambulatory acid probe test: A 24-hour probe study to monitor the esophageal pH
- Esophageal manometry: Done through a catheter that measures pressure and movement in the esophagus.
How is heartburn treated?
Repeated exposure to stomach acid can cause serious damage to the esophagus and increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
You can manage or prevent uncomfortable symptoms by making diet and lifestyle modifications:
- Avoid spicy, oily, and processed foods
- Eat meals at regular times
- Consume smaller portions of food at a time
- Avoid eating at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid or quit alcohol and tobacco
- Practice good sleep hygiene
- Avoid stress
- Limit caffeine intake
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes
- Try chewing gum for 30 minutes to an hour
Based on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medicines to counteract hyper acid secretions. It’s important to remember, however, that long-term consumption of these medications can cause issues with bone and kidney health:
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Poonam Sachdev. Heartburn. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/understanding-heartburn-basics
Heartburn. American Academy of Family Physicians: https://familydoctor.org/condition/heartburn/
Heartburn. Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9617-heartburn-overview
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Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced from acid reflux (GERD). Symptoms of heartburn include chest pain, burning in the throat, difficulty swallowing, the feeling of food sticking in the throat, and a burning feeling in the chest.
Causes of heartburn include dietary habits, lifestyle habits, and medical causes.
Treatments for heartburn include lifestyle changes, OTC medication,prescription medication, and surgery.
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