Acid Reflux is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It is a condition in which the stomach contents including digestive enzymes and acids leak back into the esophagus. Acid reflux is also known as Hyperacidity. It is a very common condition and usually we link it with acidity, isn’t it? But there is much more to it than we know. Recent studies suggest a link between prolonged acidity and stomach cancers. Thus, it becomes extremely important to address acid reflux at the earliest. Let us go through the details on acid reflux and natural remedies for acid reflux in this blog.
What is Acid Reflux?
When we eat food, it passes the esophagus and reaches the stomach where it is digested. There is a muscular ring at the junction of the esophagus and stomach (called the lower esophageal sphincter, LES) which prevents food from leaking back into the esophagus. In Acid reflux or GERD, the stomach contents like digestive enzymes and acids leak back into the esophagus as the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t function properly. The regurgitated fluid mainly contains acid and pepsin which are produced in the stomach. Thus, it leads to irritation and inflammation in the lining of the esophagus, leading to heartburn. It is a common condition and many people suffer from heartburn every day. Anyone can suffer from acid reflux irrespective of the age.
Acid Reflux Causes
There may be multiple causes for the development of acid reflux. Some of the acid reflux causes are:
- Certain diseases and conditions like scleroderma (weakening of esophageal muscles) or pregnancy make a person more susceptible to acid reflux
- A person experiencing Hiatus hernia or esophageal stricture may also have acid reflux
- Other factors include obesity, smoking, alcohol, and eating fried or spicy food.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acid reflux may lead to the following symptoms:
- Heartburn: Burning sensation starting from chest to the throat which is aggravated by lying down.
- Irritation in the lining of esophagus due to acid regurgitation
- Sore throat
- Sour taste in the mouth
- Chest pain especially while lying down
- Infants may show symptoms like frequent vomiting, immature digestion, and coughing. These symptoms are usually relieved when the child is 1 year old.
Complications of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux if left untreated for long may lead to complications such as:
- Bleeding and ulcers
- Ulcers may heal leaving scars and form strictures
- Chronic irritation and inflammation of esophageal linings may lead to precancerous changes called Barrett’s esophagus
- Acid reflux may lead to aggravation of respiratory conditions like pulmonary fibrosis and asthma
Diagnosis of Acid Reflux
Physicians may suspect GERD or acid reflux from the general description of symptoms and analyzing the medical history and lifestyle of the patient. The diagnosis can be confirmed by the following tests:
- Barium X-ray
- Ambulatory acid (pH) probe tests
Acid Reflux Treatment
Conventional treatment for acid reflux or GERD consists of the following:
- Antacids like Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, which are acid regulators. But these antacids have side-effects like diarrhea or constipation.
- H2 Blockers that obstruct the production of acids may be suggested. But they provide temporary relief of symptoms.
- Pro-kinetic drugs that work by strengthening the sphincter and compel the stomach to evacuate faster may be prescribed. However, these drugs have a host of side-effects.
- In severe cases, Nissen fundoplication surgery may be suggested
Complementary Natural Care
Complementary systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, homeopathy, or dietary supplements aim to address the root cause of the issue. Acid reflux is caused when the lower esophageal sphincter does not function optimally, and acids regurgitate back into the esophagus from the stomach. Natural therapies are believed to neutralize the acid levels, soothe the stomach and esophageal linings and improve the functioning of the sphincter.
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Tips to Address Acid Reflux or GERD
- Maintain Healthy Weight: Acid reflux is more prone to adults who are overweight. Thus, you need to maintain a healthy weight and proper digestion.
- Quit smoking and drinking: Hot drinks and smoking may aggravate heartburn and damages the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is responsible for regurgitation of stomach acids into the esophagus.
- Eat wisely: Avoid overeating. Take small frequent meals. Avoid lying down or sleeping for at least 2 hours after meals.
- Reduce Stress: Stress is one of the reasons for most the illness. Try to reduce stress by practicing meditation or deep breathing techniques. You may also try engaging in one of your hobbies such as reading, painting, music, etc.
- Lie down with the head elevated: Many people experience acid reflux while sleeping or lying down. You may elevate the head of the bed while lying down to avoid regurgitation.
- Sleep on your left side: The esophagus is followed by the right side of the stomach. Thus, when you sleep on your left side the lower esophageal sphincter is lined above the level of stomach acid. This will help prevent stomach contents to leak back into the esophagus.
Diet for Acid Reflux
When it comes to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux, diet and nutrition are the major considerations. Eliminating triggers is the most important key to control GERD. However, studies suggest eating low-fat, high-protein meals can help alleviate the symptoms and keep the discomfort at bay.
How does Food Influence Acid Reflux?
What you eat can affect the amount of acid production in your stomach. Some foods that have the tendency to produce more acid, can be directly irritating the esophagus. Symptoms of reflux occur when the acid in the stomach moves back into the esophagus due to damaged or weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Making diet changes, eliminating foods that trigger and following a healthy lifestyle is all you need to control your symptoms or discomfort.
We are providing the necessary food recommendations for acid reflux that can help.
- Consume plenty of vegetables in acid reflux. Have small portions at a time.
- Consume bitter and pungent vegetables such as bitter gourd, sprouts, fenugreek, radish leaf, squash, bottle gourd, asparagus, carrot, and green beans.
- It is advised to steam or cook vegetables, instead of eating them raw, to improve digestion.
- You can have oatmeal, ginger, parsley, aloe vera, banana, melons, fennel, Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, celery, bulgur wheat, semolina wheat, and rice (especially brown rice)
- Take yogurt and probiotics
Foods for Moderate Consumption:
- Consume nightshades such as eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes and, peppers in moderation, as they may clog the microchannels of your body.
Foods to Avoid:
- Cold food, sweets, and food heavy to digest should be avoided as these are known to create more internal toxins. Citrus fruit juices and very sweet fruits such as grapes should also be avoided.
- Frozen, leftover or preserved food because they are harder to digest as compared to fresh foods
- Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages. As carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide gas in carbonated drinks cause the people to belch often after having them.
- Processed, fried, fatty and junk foods and refined flours.
- Biscuits, pasta, aged cheeses, bread, mushrooms, and peanuts.
- Fermented foods such as vinegar and other products that contain fermented ingredients.
- Raw Onion or garlic or spicy food as it may increase heartburn, belching, and acid reflux.
- Tomato sauce or other tomato products
Home Remedies for Acid Reflux
- Eat at least one ripened banana every day. Banana is known to possess natural antacid properties and may help in reducing the discomfort of acid regurgitation into the esophagus.
- Curry leaf juice which is freshly expressed can be taken with lime as it is known to benefit nausea, morning sickness, and vomiting. Take 1-2 teaspoons of this juice twice a day.
- Have half a cup of ginger tea empty stomach. Ginger is exceptionally good for digestion related issues, nausea, and acid reflux. Simmer few slices of ginger root in water for about 30 minutes and drink it empty stomach or before meals for maximum benefit.
- Chamomile tea is another home remedy for balancing acidity levels in your stomach. Drink half a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes bedtime. Method: Boil a cup of water, add chamomile petals, heat for about 30 minutes while the water condenses to half the amount. Now strain the water add honey or lemon and drink.
- Take licorice as a supplement, tincture, or tea. Licorice is known to soothe the stomach acids naturally.
- Have low carbs: Consuming a lot of undigested carbohydrates in your digestive tract may make you bloated, gassy, and belch often. Having a low-carb diet helps to improve reflux symptoms.
Holistic remedies for acid reflux consist of Homeopathic formulations, Ayurvedic herbs, and dietary supplements. These natural remedies along with an improved lifestyle and diet can help all aspects of acid reflux. Biogetica combines all these natural remedies to target the condition as a whole and from its root cause so that effects can be long-lasting. All our products have traditional use of clinical analysis from Ayurveda and Homeopathy and are supported by modern research and trials. If you want to know natural, safe and effective natural remedies for acid reflux or consult a doctor for free, please click on the link https://www.biogetica.com/how-to-find-natural-gerd-medicines-treatments-cures#acid-reflux-treatment