The burning, cough, and regurgitation caused by chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) ranges from mildly annoying to distressingly painful. If you experience side effects from antacid medications or only have occasional reflux, you may be looking for natural ways to keep the burning at bay. To help put out that fiery feeling, try these 7 home remedies for acid reflux and GERD.
1. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum after eating a meal counteracts acid with increased saliva production. Choose a sugar-free gum to keep your oral health in check, and look for a bicarbonate gum in the toothpaste aisle to get the maximum effect while you chew.
2. Food Choices
Making changes to your diet is one of the best ways to stop acid reflux before it happens. If you aren’t sure exactly what triggers your symptoms, use a diary to track your foods and reflux symptoms.
Common triggers include:
- Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
- Spicy foods
- High fat meals
- Tomatoes and citrus fruit
- Onion and garlic
Eating smaller meals may also diminish your symptoms. But for people with chronic GERD, dietary habits might not make much of a difference in your symptoms.
3. Weight Loss
While it’s not exactly a quick fix for getting rid of acid reflux, losing weight may reduce their severity. Being overweight or obese appears to increase your likelihood of developing GERD, and excess fat in the abdomen can push on the lower esophagus.
Obesity in particular is linked to increased risk of developing a hiatal hernia, where part of the stomach actually pushes through the diaphragm. In addition to heartburn, signs of a hiatal hernia include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and feeling very full after eating.
4. Sleeping at an Angle
Lying down to sleep at night can make GERD symptoms worse. Avoid food for 2-3 hours before bedtime, and sleeping with your head elevated to reduce reflux at night.
5. Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies may not work for everyone, but they’re unlikely to cause side effects. Some of the most popular include:
- Chamomile – One of the oldest herbal remedies, chamomile is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is often recommended for digestive upset.
- Slippery Elm – From the bark of the slippery elm tree, this supplement is used for sore throats and is believed to increase mucous secretion. Slippery Elm could slow down the absorption of other drugs, so avoid taking it at the same time as other supplements.
- Marshmallow root – The plant that our modern marshmallow candy originally came from. Marshmallow root is used to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and provide a protective coating.
6. Abdominal Breathing
You probably don’t pay much attention to how you breathe, but it could help reduce your GERD symptoms. Patients in a training program where they learned abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing experienced improved GERD symptoms.
7. Avoid Tight Clothing
Garments that are specifically designed to suck you in can make acid reflux worse. Steer clear of shapewear, waist-trainers and athletic compression gear.
If you have heartburn several times a week it’s a good idea to see your doctor about treatment options. In chronic cases that are left untreated, GERD can lead to conditions like esophagitis, strictures, or even esophageal cancer.
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DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.