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Natural Remedies For Acid Reflux
Most adults have experienced the uncomfortable burning sensation caused by acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). There are prescription medicines available for acid reflux, but if you only suffer from occasional heartburn, you may want to find another way to alleviate your symptoms.
Although anyone is capable of suffering from occasional heartburn, GERD seems to be more common in adults who are overweight or obese. Excess weight in the abdominal area can result in excess stomach acids. According to a study at the Mayo Clinic, a weight loss program of one to two pounds per week may make a substantial difference in easing acid reflux symptoms.
Eliminating some foods and drinks from your diet that can trigger acid reflux symptoms can also be helpful. Those items include tomato sauce and tomato-based products, foods high in fat and grease, citrus fruit juices, coffee, soda, chocolate, garlic, onions, mint and alcohol.
Studies have shown that eating smaller meals can also help prevent heartburn. It puts less stress on the stomach by eating smaller amounts, as well as reducing your calorie consumption. It is also helpful to avoid lying down after meals, as this can trigger acid reflux symptoms. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it is best to wait two to three hours after eating before going to bed. It is further noted that keeping your head elevated while sleeping can also help alleviate nighttime heartburn.
Along with avoiding foods that can trigger acid reflux, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that low-fat, high-protein meals can also help prevent acid reflux. In addition, eating foods rich in fiber can help you feel full, thus preventing overeating and eliminating the symptoms of heartburn.
Another trick in preventing acid reflux is chewing non-mint gum after each meal. This can increase the presence of saliva and therefore, keep the symptoms of GERD at bay.
Smoking can also be significant in causing acid reflux disease. Smoking can damage the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is responsible for preventing stomach acids from backing up. Research has shown that when the muscles of the LES are weakened from smoking, you may experience episodes of heartburn. Even those who live with secondhand smoke can suffer from acid reflux disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some herbal remedies that are helpful in preventing heartburn. Although you should check with your doctor before using any kind of herbal supplements; chamomile, licorice, marshmallow and slippery elm have all been found to improve symptoms of acid reflux. These herbs can be found at your local health food store in the form of supplements, tinctures and teas.
Tight clothing can also increase your risk for acid reflux symptoms. Wearing constricting clothes and belts can place unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Try to wear clothing that is loose fitting and comfortable, especially, if you will be sitting for extended periods of time.
Practicing yoga can also help alleviate your symptoms of GERD. Studies have shown that an increase in stress levels can play a big part in suffering from stomach acid. By using relaxation techniques, deep breathing and quiet meditation, you can learn to eliminate the symptoms of stress and keep stomach acid from causing uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms.
Work with your doctor in trying to control your heartburn symptoms, as prolonged and uncontrolled acid reflux can lead to a higher risk of esophageal damage, ulcers, a narrowed esophagus and even possible esophageal cancer.
Although home remedies alone may not completely alleviate your heartburn symptoms, it is possible that with the help of your gastroenterologist, a treatment plan that includes these home remedies, can help in eliminating your symptoms of GERD.
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