Home Remedies for Heartburn Relief
Heartburn refers to the burning sensation you feel when the stomach acid and contents move back up into the bottom of your esophagus. Usually, you notice this after eating or when lying down. Either way, it’s not the most comfortable sensation.
Yet, most people will experience heartburn at one point or another. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. If it is severe or frequent, it may indicate another health problem. In this case, it may be best to seek out immediate care or book a visit with your doctor’s office.
Luckily, for the occasional heartburn, there are many ways to avoid and prevent it. Let’s take a look at heartburn symptoms, causes and preventative methods, as well as some home remedies for heartburn relief.
Symptoms of Heartburn
The common symptoms of heartburn include:
- A burning pain or sensation in the middle of the chest, usually after eating
- Pain that gets worse when lying down
- Acidic or foul taste in the mouth
- Pain that may feel as though it is rising up your chest and may radiate into your jaw
What Causes Heartburn?
Usually, after eating, the band of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus tightens, preventing any food or stomach acid from going backwards. But if this muscle relaxes or weakens, heartburn may occur, especially if you lay down or bend over.
Many people are more likely to experience heartburn when they consume the following foods:
- Coffee. Coffee can cause heartburn primarily due to its acidic nature and its ability to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
- Any spicy foods.
- Citrus items.
- Fatty meals or foods.
There’s good news though! There are various ways to prevent and avoid heartburn, such as avoiding or limiting the food that often causes it.
Tips for Prevention and Treatment
Heartburn is entirely preventable and treatable. Here are a few simple home remedies for heartburn relief you can use to prevent or treat the occasional heartburn.
1. Don’t Overeat
If you eat too much, there may be too much pressure. This prevents the band of muscle from closing between your stomach and esophagus. This also means that acid can easily squeeze through and cause heartburn.
Instead, pace yourself as you eat. Chew every bite and avoid watching TV while you eat. You want to be mindful when it comes to fueling your body.
2. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol may cause heartburn through the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and increased stomach acid production. Even very healthy individuals may experience heartburn when drinking alcoholic beverages.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
For individuals with high amounts of abdominal fat, this excess tissue may push the esophagus up, which inhibits the support provided by the diaphragm. This condition is called hiatus hernia, which most commonly impacts obese individuals and pregnant women.
4. Avoid Aggravating Foods
You have spicy food. Then, the inevitable follows. You get heartburn within 30 to 60 minutes after eating. If certain foods aggravate your heartburn, avoid or limit them.
For example, many individuals find raw onion causes heartburn. For these individuals, they should consider cooking the onion before eating it.
5. Chew Gum
Surprisingly, some research shows that chewing gum for about half an hour after eating can decrease the acid levels present in the esophagus that cause heartburn. However, you may want to stick to more fruity flavors, since some find peppermint or spearmint flavors actually aggravate their heartburn further.
6. Avoid Eating a Heavy Meal 2 to 3 Hours Before Bed
Many people get heartburn when they lie down. As such, if you eat a heavy meal before bed, then attempt to go to sleep right away, you may experience heartburn. This isn’t just uncomfortable — it also may disrupt your regular sleep schedule — leaving you tired and beaten down the next day.
7. Take a Tiny Bit of Baking Soda
Baking soda works in a similar way to antacids. However, it might not taste as good. But if the store is closed and it’s all you’ve got, it’s worth a shot. Mix a tiny amount with your water to prevent and reduce your heartburn.
8. Wear Loose Clothing
Tight clothes may place unnecessary pressure on your abdomen, which could lead to heartburn. Opt for loose and comfortable clothing instead.
9. Try Elevating Your Head
Do you regularly experience heartburn when you lie down or try to go to sleep? Elevating your head with a wedge pillow may help. Some individuals find it’s best to insert this pillow under the mattress so that their body’s upper half is slightly higher.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
If you experience severe chest pain, vomit up blood, or have difficulty swallowing, seek out immediate medical attention. These are signs something more serious is happening than just your typical heartburn, such as a heart attack for example.
If you experience heartburn frequently, such as twice a week, this may be a sign of GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. Book an appointment with your doctor if this is the case. They may be able to make lifestyle recommendations suited to you and your needs. If lifestyle modifications fail to work, medication or surgery may be recommended. However, these are often used as a last resort.
If you experience heartburn infrequently or happen to be experiencing it right now with no other symptoms, give the 9 remedies above a try. Find what works for you!