How To Relieve Acid Reflux Without Medication
Have you ever felt a sort of discomfort or even pain after a heavy meal? Sometimes it could also keep you from sleeping or make you change bed positions after every few minutes. This could be a sign that you have acidic reflux.
Research shows that around 13.98% of the global population suffers from acid reflux. When diagnosed, the condition is often referred to as Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD.
What is Acid Reflux and How Does it Occur?
For acid reflux to occur, some content in your stomach must have regurgitated. Such content may include gastric acid, which might travel to the wrong part of your stomach, finding its way back to the esophagus. The result is a burning sensation at your upper abdomen or lower chest. Sometimes it feels like heartburn and other times like a bloated stomach.
When you take in food or a drink, it passes through the lower esophageal sphincter that joins the stomach to ensure a one-way flow. However, in some cases, something may interfere with this flow hence causing the regurgitation. Also, your stomach is made up of digestive acids that assist in the breakdown and processing of food. For some people, when one gets hungry and there is too much acid in the stomach, acid reflux can occur.
The condition might also come as a result of hiatus hernia, which occurs when your stomach pushes upwards towards the chest through the hiatus in the diaphragm muscle. This is quite common in men.
Pregnant women are also more likely to experience acid reflux, especially in the later stages of the pregnancy.
A person’s lifestyle is a common reason for acid reflux. People who drink a lot of alcohol, smoke, and stoop forward a lot are likely to experience acid reflux symptoms more often.
If the symptoms are not observed, and one does not look for acid reflux treatment accordingly, they may lead to more adverse conditions such as severe inflammation or ulcers.
How to Relieve Acid Reflux at Home
Acid reflux treatment is quite easy, and anyone can do it at home, especially in the early stages. Here are some simple practices that will help you deal with the symptoms without having to take medication.
- Raise the Head of the Bed
Lying down after a good meal is quite tempting. However, if you are already feeling a certain discomfort in your stomach, going to bed immediately will only make it worse. This is a mistake that many people make. The best thing is to sit up or at least raise your head of the bed. You will start feeling better after a while.
- Stop Overeating
A full stomach causes more reflux in your esophagus. Try not to overeat, especially in the evening. Skip the midnight snack and keep your evening diet light. Furthermore, it’s better to space out your eating during the day and go for smaller portions.
- Avoid Sleeping on the Right Side
Your sleeping position could work for or against acid reflux in your body. When you sleep on your right side, you cause your esophageal sphincter muscle to relax. Since this is a ring of muscle that controls acid reflux, when it relaxes from its job, you are likely to experience an increase in reflux symptoms.
- Chewing Gum
When you chew sugarless gum right after a meal, you help your mouth produce more saliva, which leads to a reduction in acid reflux symptoms. Chewing gum also helps to keep your brain a bit at rest, thus relieving stress. Stress could be another cause of build-up acid in the stomach.
- Steer Clear of Alcoholic Drinks
Alcoholic drinks increase stomach acidity while relaxing the processes that help balance out the acid. This then causes much belching and also increases the amount of acid that reaches the esophagus.
- Avoid Carbonated Beverages
Just like alcoholic drinks, carbonated drinks also increase the amount of acid and gas in the stomach. They affect the stomach lining and make heartburn much worse. Avoiding carbonated beverages, especially after a meal will help to reduce such symptoms significantly.
- Avoid Citric Fruits and Onions
Aside from watching how much you eat, more importantly, you need to watch what you eat. Some foods act as acid reflux triggers. Citric foods, onions, fatty foods, chocolate, and spicy foods are all in this category.
To Wrap It Up
While you cannot always avoid every trigger that brings stomach discomfort, you can equip yourself by knowing how to treat acid reflux at home. These tips come in handy when you are alone or when you cannot get to the closest pharmacy quickly. However, if symptoms persist, consider visiting a physician for a diagnosis and further treatment.