Acid Reflux Remedies: How to Stop Heartburn and Pain

If you get occasional, mild acid reflux, you probably won’t need to undergo treatment. However, in case of a serious attack or chronic reflux, it is best to seek medical treatment

Acid reflux is a nagging discomfort that occurs when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus. Its symptoms include pain in the middle of the chest, sour taste in the throat or mouth, swallowing difficulty, regurgitation of food, sore throat and hoarseness. Because heartburn pain occurs in the same area where the heart is located, reflux is sometimes confused for a heart problem.

However, an interview with a medical practitioner may be all you need to get a diagnosis. But whether or not you have gone to a doctor, you still need a remedy for the condition. Acid reflux remedies include medication, surgery, diet, lifestyle changes and some alternative r. 

Medication

When many people get acid reflux, they simply take a pill for quick relief. This is usually the case for occasional reflux although some people with chronic acid reflux may do the same. Others consult with doctors for treatment especially when the condition is serious or it does not go away with self-medication. Following are the most common acid reflux remedies:

Antacids

As the name suggests, antacids work by neutralizing excess stomach acid. Antacids used for reflux usually contain aluminum hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium hydroxide or calcium carbonate as the primary components.

Antacids are popular acid reflux remedies because they help get rid of the occasional bout of the condition quickly. However, long-term use of some antacids may have adverse effects such as diarrhea, constipation, kidney stones and osteoporosis. For this reason, you should consult a doctor if you suffer from recurrent or chronic reflux.1)

H2 Receptor Blockers

H2 receptor blockers such as cimetidine, nizatidine, ranitidine and famotidine, work by blocking the production of stomach acid. And, while they take longer to work compared to antacids, H2 receptor blockers keep working for up to 12 hours. H2 receptor blockers are available as both over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are a class of medications that work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are effective for most cases of reflux including the more serious, and chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

This class of acid reflux remedy takes between four and 12 weeks to achieve positive results. PPIs are available as both over-the-counter and prescription medicines. The most commonly used PPIs include esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole sodium, dexlansoprazole, and rabeprazole sodium.2) 

Long-term use of PPIs can lead to adverse effects such headache, nausea, diarrhea, vitamin B12 deficiency and hip fractures.

Surgery

If medication does not work in the treatment of acid reflux, or its more severe form called GERD, surgery may be considered. Some people also opt for surgery to avoid long-term reliance on medication. The two main surgical procedures performed to treat reflux involve tightening the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter or applying a ring around it to prevent reflux while allowing food to move into the stomach. In case you are considering surgery, a discussion with your doctor will help you make your mind either way.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

While most people suffering from acid reflux will readily pop some pills to get relief, making some diet and lifestyle changes can help relieve the condition. It can in fact prevent it from occurring. You can learn more about the necessary food and lifestyle changes in the article: What Causes Acid Reflux? Here Are the Known Factors.

7 Home Remedies for Acid Reflux

While you will usually need medical treatment including medication or even surgery for serious acid reflux or its complications, there are alternative acid reflux remedies that can work as well as, or even better than antacids. Some of these heartburn remedies have traditionally been used across the world to get relief from the condition. Recent studies have shown that these home remedies can be a great alternative to antacids and other conventional treatments. 

1) Baking Soda

Baking soda is alkaline because it is made from sodium hydrogen carbonate which is a base. When you dissolve a teaspoon in a glass of water and drink it, it neutralizes the stomach acid. This means that, even if reflux occurs you won’t get the burning sensation associated with heartburn. 

2) Ginger

Ginger has been used for various stomach problems including as an acid reflux remedy for hundreds of years. Anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger help calm the burning effects by promoting digestion. 

3) Apple Cider Vinegar

While little research exists, apple cider vinegar has been used as a remedy for reflux through several centuries. Take one or two tablespoons mixed with a glass of water. Raw and organic apple cider vinegar is more beneficial than the commercial pasteurized products.

4) Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is used to promote overall calmness and to induce sleep. It is also one of the most effective natural acid reflux remedies. Some anti-inflammatory compounds in chamomile help to provide relieve by fighting the inflammation arising from the refluxed gastric acid.3)

5) Aloe Vera Juice

For thousands of years, aloe vera has been used to treat many conditions, both internally and topically. Recent research has found that aloe vera actually relieves reflux and heartburn without the dangers posed by long-term use of antacids. Some studies even found that aloe vera was more effective than conventional medication.4)

6) Chewing Gum

How can chewing gum help relieve reflux? 

Chewing gum does not in itself neutralize stomach acid. However, by chewing on gum for about 30 minutes, you stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva. The saliva dilutes refluxed stomach acid in the mouth and the esophagus. The increased amounts of saliva also dilute the acid within the stomach so that even if it passes into the esophagus, it does not cause heartburn.

7) Milk

Some people take milk for acid reflux and heartburn. But how effective is it?

Milk contains various nutrients, including fat and protein. As we have learnt from other discussions, fat can lead to reflux. Therefore, while you may get temporary relief by taking a glass of milk, the fat in it may compound the condition; especially if you take too much in one go.

Conclusion

Every person who suffers from acid reflux would want to find an easy way to manage the condition. The most popular acid reflux remedies include over-the-counter and prescription medication. But, although these can offer relief, making diet and lifestyle changes can offer a better long-term solution to the problem. Additionally, you can use natural, home remedies which are effective and free from the side effects associated with most medicines.

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