Do you have a burning sensation in your
throat? Is there a sour taste in your mouth? Do you throw up sometimes
in the middle of the night? If these are symptoms you are experiencing
at least twice a week and you have had these symptoms for more than
three months, you may have acid reflux, commonly referred to as GERD
(Gastroesphageal reflux disease). The first thing you need to do is go
and see your doctor to make sure it is GERD. Some heart problems mask
themselves as indigestion. When you are officially diagnosed with GERD,
you need to decide how you want the condition to be treated. There are
many medications that are effective for this disease, but if your GERD
is not severe, you may be able to treat it by trying some simple home
remedies. Even if you decide to try the medication, you may want to do
some of these suggestions at home to help alleviate your symptoms.
When you experience those miserable symptoms associated with GERD, the acid in your stomach is actually backing up your esophagus. Why does this happen? The muscle at the end of the esophagus does not close properly. Your esophagus is not blessed with the protection your stomach wall has, so you experience a mean case of indigestion. If your indigestion is severe, you and your doctor may decide medicine or even surgery is the best choice for you. Acid reflux, if not treated can create all types of problems, including ulcers and even, in severe circumstances, taking the enamel off of your teeth. If it is just annoying, not severe, you may be able to effectively treat your disease with some of the following home remedies.
1. Pay Close Attention to Your Diet—Foods and drinks that aggravate GERD include spicy foods, acid based foods, greasy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Before you bite into that pizza or fried chicken, think about how you are going to feel a couple of hours from now. Before you drink those beers, followed by that cup of coffee, think about the last time you did that and were up all night. If you are suicidal and enjoy great pain, drink that big glass or orange juice on an empty stomach. Sometimes changing your diet can be the key in controlling acid reflux. Although you don’t eat cigarettes, you do put them in your mouth. The smoke is inhaled into your pipes along with the nicotine. Neither smoke nor nicotine is a friend of reflux. Think about tossing that last pack now.
2. Lose Weight—By now, we all know being overweight is a bad thing; even though 65% of us are. You know that being overweight can lead to heart disease and diabetes, but did you realize the havoc it can reek on your digestive system? It can generate problems with your gallbladder, colon, and yes, even aggravate your GERD. Those extra pounds can increase pressure in your stomach, pushing the acid upward toward the esophagus.
3. Adjust clothes and Sleeping Position—You can tell a GERD sufferer by looking at his/her bed. If the top of the bed is higher than the bottom of the bed and there are at least two or three pillows on one side of the bed, the owner of that bed probably has GERD. Night is the worst time of the day for GERD suffers, especially if you go to bed right after you eat. Always stay up at least 3 hours after you eat and prop yourself up, so that gravity is on your side. The acid stays closer to your stomach than your mouth. Also, tight fitting clothes tend to press on your stomach and create problems with reflex.
4. Quick Fixes That Work—When you are miserable, here are a few quick fixes that may help. Keep in mind, nothing actually cures GERD. These suggestions just give some immediate relief to your symptoms. Some work better for some people than others, so you may want to experiment to see which works best for you.
· Hard Candy (No chocolate or peppermint. Those two candies relax the muscle at the end of the esophagus and let in the acid). When you first begin feeling that burning in your throat or you begin coughing, pop a mild tasting hard candy in your mouth; the burning and coughing often will decrease or stop entirely. Sometimes, you may have to suck on more than one piece. Butterscotch, root beer, and mild fruit flavors are some of the best choices.
· Natural Apple Cider Vinegar— Put about a tablespoon of Natural Cider Vinegar in a glass of water and drink it slowly during your meal.
· Apples—If you don’t want to take hard candy with you, put an apple in your pocket. When the burning starts, take a bite of apple.
· Ramen Noodles and Gatorade—My personal favorite is this combination. I used to wake up every morning at 2:00 a.m. and throw up. For my night meal, I started eating Ramen Noodles and drinking Gatorade. After a few weeks, I no longer woke up in the middle of the night throwing up. Whenever I start experiencing symptoms again, I reach for the noodles and Gatorade. I have tried other types of noodles, but can’t find any that work as well as Ramen. ( Of course, I have no scientific evidence to prove this works. I can just tell you it did wonders for me.)
· Yogurt—This is another personal favorite. When I feel that burning in my throat, a spoonful of cold yogurt actually feels like it is quenching the fire. It not only has a cooling effect, but it has good bacteria for your digestive track.
· Fresh Pineapple—Some people have found that fresh pineapple helps. (I am not one of them; not only do I hate pineapple, but it actually seems to make my reflux worse.) It does have digestive enzymes though that will help you, if you can tolerate it. If you can’t, just try something else
· Dried Figs—These are also filled with good tummy enzymes.
· Warm Non Decaffeinated Herbal Tea—Remember to avoid the ]peppermint and the citrus flavors. Sometimes, a cup of hot tea can soothe a sour stomach.
If you have GERD, you know you will try about anything to get rid of the pain. These are a few suggestions that you can do at home that may help alleviate symptoms. Again, don’t use these home remedies as a substitute for seeing your doctor. Stomach acid is a powerful substance. Your esophagus and lungs are not equipped to handle it. Only your doctor, through x-rays and other procedures can determine if you are at risk for other more serious conditions relating to GERD.