Acid reflux the moving of the acidic content of the stomach back up into the esophagus. It causes heartburn, a burning pain behind the breastbone. The condition requires an examination and treatment. There are lots of factors that cause acid reflux.
Why does it occur?
Acid reflux occurs due to a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – a muscular ring. Normally, it closes right after food passes into the stomach. When the muscle fails to fully close for some reason, the acidic content may back up into the esophagus and sometimes even reach throat.
Hiatal hernia is a common cause of acid reflux. The upper stomach moves above the diaphragm and prevents the sphincter from closing properly.
Also, reflux may occur due to:
- Bending, sleeping or doing physical work or exercise right after dinner
- Eating heavy and/or spicy foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Tight clothes
What can I do about it?
There are a number of healthy first-aid products, which can bring you relief. These include:
Aloe juice can be very helpful, as long as aloe is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. As you take it, it reduces inflammation, which is caused by the gastric acid entering the esophagus. Also, aloe juice can relieve symptoms of gastritis and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Surprisingly, acid-rich products like apple cider vinegar can help you deal with acidic reflux. Wonder why? In some cases, it is lack of acid in the stomach, not excess of it, that causes acidic reflux. It’s simple: the closing and tightening of the LES is its normal reaction to the gastric acid. Once the acid level drops, it relaxes, opens, and lets the content into the esophagus. In this case, your stomach needs a little acidic boost.
Fruits (non-citrus!) like pears, bananas, apples, berries, etc., contain flavonoids and tons of other substances, which neutralize acid. They can help when acid reflux is caused by high gastric acid levels.
Almonds contain substances, which neutralize acids and therefore can reduce heartburn that results from acid reflux. If you have a reflux issue, it is highly advisable to have a handful of almonds after every meal.
Ginger is part of many meals and menus, and that is not for nothing. Thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory effect, many doctors recommend it for treatment of acid reflux, gastritis, and other digestion issues. Ginger-root tea is also a great option.
Chamomile tea has direct acid-balancing properties. More interesting, it reduces stress and therefore minimizes the risk of stress-related acid reflux and heartburn. Doctors recommend to have a cup of tea about an hour before sleep.
Baking soda has a high pH and therefore is a strong acid neutralizer. A teaspoonful of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water is a quick rescue.
Foods, which are low on fat (lean meats, egg whites, etc.) are great for the stomach and reduce the risk of reflux. Switching to foods with healthy fats (walnuts, olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado, etc.) would be great too.
Use a thick pillow or put something under it to ensure that your head is about 6 inches high above the bed. Do not go to bed right after eating.
What if these don’t work?
If you have tried all these ways and the problem is still there, most likely, you are dealing with a disorder, which requires therapeutic or even surgical treatment. Turn to a doctor and have your stomach examined professionally.