Heartburn is a common health condition experienced by many men and women. It feels like there is a burning pain in the chest behind the breastbone. It gets worse during the evening, after eating, or when bending or lying down.
Some of us manage the pain by changing lifestyles. Others survive the condition by relying on over-the-counter medicines.
Meanwhile, if heartburn becomes more frequent and disrupts your daily routine, it is best to see a doctor. It might be a symptom of a serious health problem that will require medical attention.
In this article, we will discuss deeply what heartburn is. Then, we will introduce the natural remedy for it. Finally, we will tackle if drinking water does help ease the pain of heartburn.
Causes of Heartburn
Heartburn happens whenever the acid backs up in the esophagus. This is the tube that carries the food that we eat up to the stomach.
When you swallow, the muscles below the esophagus relax to facilitate the easy flowing of food and drinks into the stomach. After passing, the muscles will tighten once again.
However, when the lower muscles of the esophagus weaken or relaxes abnormally, the acid at the stomach can flow back to the esophagus. This now causes acid reflux and heartburn.
Some foods and drinks can trigger heartburn. It includes spicy foods, citrus, onions, and tomato products. For some, eating fatty foods, chocolate, and peppermint prompts heartburn. Finally, coffee, carbonated beverages, and alcohol can be a hinder for some to enjoy holidays.
Meanwhile, being pregnant or overweight increases one’s risk of experiencing heartburn.
Signs and Symptoms of Heartburn
There are various signs and symptoms of heartburn. For one, you can feel a burning pain in your chest. This usually happens right after eating. Some can experience this at night time.
Moreover, there is an acidic or bitter taste in your mouth. Finally, the pain worsens when you bend or lay down in your bed.
If you are experiencing severe pain in the chest, then it is best to see a doctor immediately. Some people may also feel pain in their jaw and arm. Others can have difficulty breathing. If the issue is neglected, these symptoms can lead to a heart attack.
Make sure that you see a doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following conditions:
- More than twice a week of heartburn
- Burning pain in the chest despite taking over-the-counter drugs
- Painful experience when swallowing
- Vomiting or nausea
- Difficulty eating
- Poor appetite or extreme weight loss
If heartburn often occurs and disrupts your daily routine, you might develop Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases (GERD). GERD may require treatment and sometimes operation. It can damage the esophagus, and recovery can be challenging.
Treatment for Heartburn
Heartburn can be treated easily by changing your lifestyle. Eat foods and drinks that prevent acid reflux. Perform simple steps to avoid it like the tips included below:
When the symptoms of heartburn strike, you can find immediate relief with the food and drinks at your home. Check out the easy and natural remedies below:
Almonds are not just a good snack, but it also aids in relieving heartburn. Many patients testify that they experience significant changes in their bodies as they eat almonds consistently. Also, eating almonds can prevent you from taking other food, which is bad for the body.
The use of Aloe Vera is common in treating sunburns. But amazingly, this is also an effective remedy to treat heartburn.
Just drink a glass of Aloe Vera juice to calm your esophagus. This can limit inflammation and avoid irritation in the long run.
Apple or Banana
Eating a banana or an apple a day will keep the heartburn away. These fruits contain natural antacids that can relieve and prevent the onset of acid reflux.
Apple Cider Vinegar
People may be hesitant to take apple cider vinegar at first. But acid reflux is due to a condition wherein there is not enough acid in your stomach. The best method to introduce acid in your belly once again is by taking apple cider vinegar. You can put it as dressing in the salad, which tastes good.
Baking soda has a high pH level on it. As such, it helps in neutralizing the acid in the stomach. Whenever the acid rises from the stomach and esophagus, the baking soda does its magic by stopping the acid. You can swallow a teaspoon of baking soda. Or you can dilute it in water whenever you are in pain.
Drinking unsweetened coconut water can help people who experience acid reflux. It contains helpful electrolytes like potassium. This can promote the balance of the pH level in the body. It aids in controlling the symptoms of acid reflux.
To help balance the acid level in your belly, you can try drinking chamomile tea. Take this before going to bed and feel the soothing relief in your body.
Amazingly, chewing gum can help one with their heartburn. As you chew the gum, it aids in the production of saliva. The excess saliva that you swallow can aid in diluting and clearing the acid from your stomach. This can relieve you from pain and reduce the symptoms in the long run.
Take fermented foods that work wonders for your digestive system. An example of this is kimchi. This type of food is alkaline. The process of fermentation allows the breaking down of raw vegetables into peptides and amino acids.
With this, the pH level of the food rises. It can also produce a strong ammoniacal smell. Fermented foods like kimchi can relieve stomach inflammation. It can heal as well as the lining of the stomach.
Drinking ginger tea can help in many health issues, including heartburn. For years, it has been used as a remedy to treat motion sickness. It is also used as an alternative medicine to improve blood circulation.
Ginger tea is proven to boost the immune system. It wards off heart disease and helps the body fight bacterial infections. Place a few slices of ginger in a cup for around 10 to 20 minutes. After that, drink it while it’s hot. The ginger tea will help calm your upset tummy. In the long run, it can also stop the condition from occurring once again.
Another must-take alkaline food is mustard. It contains minerals and acids from vinegar. A spoonful of mustard can aid in mild acid reflux. It can balance the pH level in the body too.
Dairy products are known to reduce heartburn symptoms. Eat yogurt once a day, and you can put some honey on it.
The Truth about Drinking Water during an Acid Reflux
Heartburn is due to the flow of the acid in the stomach back into the esophagus. Drinking water can provide relief. It can raise the pH level of the stomach. It can dilute the acid. Also, it can clear out the esophagus.
The pH level of water is neutral, which can raise the pH level of acidic food.
Recently, there is a buzz about drinking alkaline water and its promise to help ease heartburn. Alkaline has a higher pH level and lower acidity. According to some people, it can neutralize the acid and relieve the symptoms.
Drinking alkaline water will indeed neutralize the liquid for a few minutes only. However, it will not solve the main reason why there is acid in the stomach. Furthermore, drinking too much water can mess with the balance of the minerals in the body. As such, it can most likely increase the chances of experiencing acid reflux.
If you wish to consider alkaline water to treat heartburn, talk to your doctor first. Make sure to partner it with other remedies to solve the signs and symptoms right away.
Apart from eating the recommended food and drinks above-mentioned, there are also a few lifestyle changes that you should try. It includes avoiding a few treats, wearing the right clothes, and listening to your body. Check out the tips below:
Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine
When one smokes or drinks alcoholic beverages, the body relaxes. With this, it makes the valve that separates the esophagus and the stomach relax. Now, the acid can escape the stomach and trigger reflux. You can experience vomiting and stomach pain as you smoke and binge drink.
Avoid Eating Spicy Foods
When you eat a hot pepper, you can experience that your tongue burns. The same is true with your stomach. The burning sensation can trigger the symptoms of acid reflux in your belly. This can cause discomfort and pain.
Avoid eating hot peppers, wasabi paste, cayenne, red chili pepper flakes, and chili powder altogether.
Change your Eating Habits
Apart from being conscious of what you eat, it is also advisable to be aware of when and how you eat it. Eat smaller meals and do it frequently. As you eat larger meals, it will only put pressure on your stomach. Eat five to six meals a day instead of eating three large meals.
Do not eat quickly. Put your fork or spoon down every after a bite to help you eat slowly.
Make sure not to skip breakfast or lunch. This can cause overeating throughout the day. Do not eat midnight snacks because this can cause heartburn. Eating snacks before bedtime can be tempting, but you must avoid them to stop experiencing stomach pains in the middle of the night.
When eating, make sure to maintain an upright position. Do not lie down two to three hours after eating. If you like relaxing on your couch and watch the TV after dinner, do so by sitting with your head elevated. You can also watch your favorite program standing for a few minutes until the food is digested by the body.
Do Not Eat Chocolate or Drink Citrus Juices
Make sure not to eat chocolate whenever you have an upset stomach. Chocolates contain cocoa and caffeine, which can increase the symptoms of acid reflux.
The same is true with drinking citrus juices. Grapefruits and oranges are highly acidic and can trigger acid reflux.
The more weight you have, there is more pressure on your internal organs. This is true for your stomach. In the long run, your weight can loosen the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. As such, the acid can escape, which prompts heartburn.
Pay Attention to Your Body
We all have unique bodies. Not all food will be a trigger of heartburn. One of the effective ways to avoid acid reflux is to listen to your body. Identify your triggers and stay away from them.
Sleep with your Body Elevated or an Incline
When you stand, the acid remains at the bottom of your belly. But when you lay down at night, the acid will slosh around. It will extend from one part of your stomach to the other. As such, there is an increased chance of acid escaping.
But when you sleep on an incline, acid reflux will be prevented.
You can do this by elevating the head of your bed frame. If it’s not possible, put a sleeping wedge between the mattress and the box spring. Use a back wedge to elevate your legs while you sleep.
Take Licorice Supplements
One of the many folk remedies that you can try is the licorice root. It helps to increase the mucous coating of the lining of the esophagus. As such, it protects it from damage caused by the acid.
One licorice supplement that you can try is the Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). But be sure to consult your doctor first before taking this supplement. This is because it can interfere with medication, raise blood pressure, and lower potassium levels.
Take Over-the-Counter Medications
The H2 blockers plus the PPIs can reduce the secretion of the acid in the stomach. It can aid in preventing and reducing the symptoms of heartburn. Meanwhile, antacids can help neutralize stomach acid.
Wear Loose Clothes
Wearing tight clothes as you sleep will press your stomach and make the acid rise. This is true for those people who love wearing belts, tight jeans, and corsets at the bed. As such, try wearing loose clothes that will not compress your belly.
In sum, when heartburn hits, there are many natural and over-the-counter remedies that you can try to ease the pain. Drinking water can help with the immediate relief of the symptoms. However, this might not be an effective remedy to solve the issue in the long run.
Adjust your lifestyle to feel long-term relief from your health condition. Watch your diet, change your lifestyle, and talk to your doctor.
If you are experiencing heartburn more than two times a week, it is best to seek professional help immediately. It might be a symptom of a bigger health problem. Go to a doctor so the issue can be solved right away.