What Can I do for my Heartburn?
Heartburn is another term for indigestion. This condition affects millions of individuals several times a year. The cause is usually due to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), where the acid refluxes back up the esophagus. Risk factors can be due to the overproduction of acid in the stomach or an altered structure that allows for acid to flow backwards up to the esophagus. The stomach has cells that can tolerate acid and not produce inflammation. Unfortunately, the esophagus does not have these specialized cells and will become inflamed if acid is forced backwards into this passageway.
The symptoms of heartburn involve several conditions, which vary from individual to individual. Some of the symptoms include, a sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, hoarseness, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, a burning pain in the chest, pain that worsens when you lay down, and nausea.
There are some natural ways to get some relief from the effects of heartburn. Here is a list to help prevent your worst cases of heartburn.
- Gum – Who knew that chewing gum could be your saving grace when dealing with heartburn. Some people believe it is the soothing effects of peppermint or spearmint, but in actuality, it is the action of chewing gum that produces saliva. This extra saliva production helps to clear the excess stomach acid that is invading the esophagus, which improves GERD symptoms.
- Baking Soda – A glass of a teaspoon of baking soda in water can provide a calming and acid-reducing effect on the digestive system. Baking soda is basic and can help to neutralize acids in the stomach and esophagus. However, too much baking soda is not recommended because of the high salt content and swelling and nausea.*
- Licorice – The natural properties of licorice can provide healing properties to the stomach and digestive system. They are a good alternative to antacids, because the stomach is supposed to be in an acidic environment. Too much licorice can cause elevated blood pressure, so make sure to look for DGL licorice, which does not contain the harmful glycyrrhizic acid.
- Aloe Vera – The natural properties of aloe vera can be anti-inflammatory. By drinking a half a cup prior to a meal, it can improve digestion and reduce inflammation.**
- Supplements – There are natural supplements that can cause your heartburn to decrease and your digestion to improve. One of these supplements is called DGL Plus. It is made by Pure Encapsulations and it is made with natural licorice, marshmallow root, aloe vera, and slippery elm. They work together to provide a mucous lining in the digestive tract to protect it from inflammation and discomfort.
- Chiropractic – A chiropractor knowledgeable in diet, stress reduction and natural treatments, may help you improve your lifestyle and thereby help reduce your acid reflux. I have helped many patients change their lifestyle to improve their GERD symptoms. If however I determine yours is a medical problem that is not responding to altered dietary and lifestyle changes, I will refer you to the appropriate specialist.
Home remedies are a great way of reducing the symptoms of heartburn and GERD. By using natural remedies, there is no concern for drug interactions with any currently used prescriptions. It also gives peace of mind that what you are ingesting is not going to have harmful side effects that made other medications to treat. Heartburn is an unpleasant condition that can be lessened with proper care.