If you’ve felt that fire in your chest feeling or hoarseness in your throat when you don’t even have the flu, you’re probably familiar with heartburn and acid reflux. These conditions are annoying at best, but when they bother you on a regular or chronic basis, they can be almost debilitating.
Finding ways to manage heartburn and acid reflux without reaching for the antiacids on a daily basis can feel tricky. They can be triggered by various different things – specific foods, stress, and even the way you sleep. As complicated as the issue might feel, there are ways to combat and manage your symptoms, so keep reading for a few tips.
We all know that what we consume plays a major role in our health and the same is applicable to heartburn and reflux. The tricky thing is that different foods might trigger different people, so it’s a good idea to try out an elimination diet to determine which foods might be triggering your symptoms. Some foods that might be a culprit include spicy foods, greasy foods, highly acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes, and alcohol. Another important factor to consider is how much food you eat, how quickly you eat, and how often – since the amount of food filling your stomach can impact your stomach acid levels and potentially trigger reflux.
Improve Your Sleep
You may have noticed that your symptoms tend to get worse after going to bed at night. This is because once you’re lying down, you don’t have the benefit of gravity suppressing your stomach acid and this can trigger your symptoms. Some people recommend trying to sleep slightly upright, using your pillow to prop you up in bed. A great alternative to this is a zero-gravity bed, which elevates your upper body to ease heartburn and reflux, as well as offers various other health benefits. You can check out a zero gravity bed here. Another tip is to avoid eating too close to bedtime, as this can worsen your symptoms.
Try Natural Remedies
If you want to avoid using medication too often, you might want to try out some more natural remedies to ease your symptoms on a regular basis. While there is not a lot of research behind natural and herbal treatments for these conditions, there are still a few things you could try out. These include apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, aloe vera, bananas, ginger (usually in the form of tea), or the herbal remedy called Iberogast. Iberogast contains herbs such as caraway, chamomile, lemon balm, milk thistle, and liquorice amongst others, and has been said to help relieve heartburn and reflux.
Change Your Lifestyle
Often, chronic heartburn can be linked to being overweight. This does relate to the type of food you eat on a regular basis (think greasy, fatty foods) but also to increased pressure on your esophagus. Losing weight may help to relieve that pressure and ease up your heartburn and reflux. Speak to your doctor and ask if they would advise a weight loss program to help with your symptoms. If you’re overweight, dropping a few pounds could benefit your health in multiple other ways. Minding your diet and implementing some light exercise into your week is always a good move to make.
The two may seem unrelated, but your smoking habits might be influencing your heartburn too. This is because of the fact that nicotine may have a relaxing effect on your lower oesophageal sphincter, which can allow for more stomach acid to pass through and move its way upwards. Smoking might also increase the amount of acid produced in your stomach. If you didn’t have enough of a reason to quit before, now you do.
If you’re having a lot of heartburn, you might just want to take a look at your lifestyle and make a few changes. Watching what you eat, incorporating some exercise, sleeping better, and quitting smoking are all good changes to make regardless of your symptoms and they might just help your situation.
However, if you’re still struggling severely without any relief, you might want to talk to a health professional about getting to the root of the problem. There are various procedures that can eliminate heartburn and acid reflux and if your case is severe and chronic (causing serious discomfort multiple times per week), then one of these might be the best route for you.