We all go through heartburn once in a lifetime and we all should know how to get rid of heartburn as it is an extremely discomforting situation to be in.
The sooner you get rid of it, the better it is. Therefore, we have garnered all the information you need regarding it by covering the following points:
- What is heartburn?
- Causes of heartburn
- Symptoms of heartburn
- Heartburn treatment
- Home remedies of heartburn
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn consists of a burning sensation like the name suggests along with the pain in the chest and stomach. Wondering what causes that uneasy burning sensation? It is the stomach acid that keeps rising up the esophagus. This is also known as acid reflux. This is the reason, whenever you eat acidic foods, deep fried food time items or something really fatty, you go through heartburn. Besides medication, there re plenty of home remedies for heartburn that can provide you relief.
Causes of heart burn
If you happen to discuss your heartburn issue with a doctor, the first question is going to be about your diet. This is because the number one heartburn cause is the certain foods that you eat. Some of the acid reflux foods to avoid are chocolate, coffee (the decaf one too), tomatoes, soda, and alcohol.
But that’s not it. There are many other causes of heartburn as well besides food. Here they are:
- Overeating: when you overload your stomach with food, your stomach remains distended. This means the valve between the stomach and esophagus doesn’t close properly and stomach juices rise up the esophagus.
- Eating habits: Do not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Eating close to your bedtime can also trigger heartburn. Eating while lying or eating too fast can play a role too.
- Smoking: cigarettes are yet another cause of heartburn as well as GERD.
- Being overweight: researches have shown obese people tend to be more prone to heartburn problems.
- Medication: many medicines can trigger heartburn like the medicines used to cure arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure and asthma.
Symptoms of heartburn
Now what does heartburn feel like? The major sign and symptom of heartburn is the burning sensation felt in the chest or throat. This occurs as a result of acid reflux when the acid in the stomach rises from stomach to esophagus. This condition is also called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Acid reflux symptoms in a heartburn consist of:
- Chronic cough
- Regurgitation of foods or liquids with a taste of acid in the throat
- Stomach pain
- Continuous sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
Other symptoms of heartburn consist of:
There is nothing to worry about because there are many natural remedies for heartburn that can bring you relief from heartburn.
There is a huge number of over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well as natural remedies available for curing heartburn and providing relief from its symptoms.
Medicine for heartburn include antacids that needs to be taken at bedtime, after meals or when required. It helps to minimize acid production in the stomach and as a result alleviates symptoms. Some of these medicines are Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, and Nexum.
Changes in lifestyle
There are also some lifestyle changes that act as heartburn treatment. Some of these are:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid eating before bedtime
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Avoid caffeine, ibuprofen, aspirin and alcohol
- Use 2 pillows or elevate the head of the bed. This helps to let the acid remain in the stomach and prevent acid reflux.
Home remedies for heartburn
What better treatment than a natural remedy without any side effects! Here are some extremely effective heartburn home remedies:
1. Ginger tea
Is your heartburn accompanied by nausea? A cup of fresh ginger root tea will just do the trick. It will soothe your stomach by absorbing the acid and relax the nerves that make you feel the heartburn. If you face heartburn and nausea on a regular basis, then you can probably think of making a habit of drinking ginger tea before meals. Ginger will play the role of acid buffer.
- Wash some ginger root and peel it.
- Cut thin slices of it and keep it in a pot.
- Add one and a half cup of water to it and allow it to boil.
- Lower the flame and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Then you can either strain it or let some ginger root remain in the tea which you can chew on.
- Take ginger tea 20 to 25 minutes before meal.
You can even add grated ginger to your daily cooking or eat raw ginger slices.
2. Baking Soda
The very popular sodium bicarbonate (that’s baking soda) is extremely alkaline in nature. This is the prime reason that it proves to be so effective in providing you fast heartburn relief. Functioning as a natural antacid, it also brings quick relief from heartburn pain.
- All you have to do is take a glass of water and add a teaspoon of baking soda.
- Drink it to get quick relief.
- You can even pour in few drops of lemon juice if you want.
3. Aloe Vera Juice
One of the best heartburn cures is Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is not only good for treating burns on the skin, but it also helps to soothe heartburn mainly because it minimizes inflammation along with healing gastrointestinal tract. You know what that means? It means whenever your stomach feels inflamed and irritated, it is getting eaten away. A glass of Aloe Vera juice is the best thing you could do.
Drink half a cup of aloe juice before taking your meal. However, do remember it aloe also acts as a laxative. You don’t want to drink a lot of it in a day as it could result in diarrhea.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is really effective in case your heartburn is due to acid reflux. Although it might seem counterintuitive to take in more acid, but in a lot of cases acid reflux is also due to not having enough acid in the stomach instead of having too much of it. If that’s your case, the acid will make the lower esophageal sphincter to close and stop it from rising into esophagus.
- Take a glass of water and add one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Consume before every meal.
5. Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm is yet another great heartburn remedy. It had been used for centuries for treating different conditions like skin inflammation, burn, boils, wounds along with diarrhea, coughs and stomach problems including heartburn. This herb owes its effectiveness to mucilage. It is an element that changes into slick gel when you combine it with water. This provides slippery elm with a demulcent quality. It coats your stomach lining with a layer of mucus and makes a barrier against acid, which will then be unable to reach your esophagus.
- Take a teaspoon of slippery elm powder and add it to milk or warm water.
- Mix it thoroughly
- Take it 1 to 3 times a day depending on how severe your heartburn is.
- Consume this herbal drink after having your meal or at bedtime.
6. Fennel Seeds
Chewing fennel seeds does not only prevent bad breath but also keeps a check on the production of stomach acid. You can even go for herbal tea.
- To prepare herbal tea with fennel seeds, take a cup of boiling water.
- Add 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds.
- Let it stay for 10 minutes and then strain the mixture.
7. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a popular home remedy for heartburn. If you want to minimize inflammation in your stomach and bring some balance in acid levels, then take chamomile tea about an hour before you go to sleep. It also helps to provide relief from stress, which is one reason for acidity. It also aids in giving you a good night’s sleep.
- Take a cup of water and let it boil.
- Add a teaspoon of chamomile flower petals.
- Allow it to simmer for 45 seconds.
- Leave for a few minutes before straining the tea.
- If you want, you can add some lemon or honey in the end.
Do you experience heartburn rarely? A chilled glass of milk also acts as an effective cure for heartburn. It is a quick, easy and simple solution for treating a mild heartburn. Milk helps to relax the valve between esophagus and stomach, which helps to prevent the acid from rising up. In case you don’t have milk, you can even go for other dairy products.
Are you an almond lover? Then there is good news for you. Eating 3 to 4 almonds after every snack, every meal and every time you eat something will help to neutralize acid juices. You can go for salted almonds or roasted ones, whichever you like. Chew it properly. However, do remember almond has also been found to trigger heartburn in some individuals.
10. Cabbage Juice
Cabbage juice is also among the effective remedies for heartburn due to its anti-inflammatory qualities that provide relief from not just heartburn but also many other digestive issues.
- Wash some fresh cabbage and two carrots.
- Chop them and add it in the blender or juicer.
- Drink this juice on empty stomach first thing in the morning to find relief from heartburn.
In order to curb the primary cause of heartburn, which is the production of stomach acid, you can also take cucumber, beets, radish or carrot juice.
How to get rid of heartburn is a question that you probably don’t have anymore. One thing to remember is that different people may react to these remedies in different ways. In case you are facing constant or severe heartburn, simply go and see a doctor without any delay to prevent any serious condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If I have frequent heartburn, is that my fault?
Heartburn is a medical whose causes are biological. It is triggered by the kind of lifestyle you lead especially diet. Very often, it can be treated simply by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Can I control the my heartburn if I have it too often?
Yes, you can! If you cut down on a few things, it could immensely help in easing the symptoms of heartburn. You can make changes to your diet and lifestyle along with using prescription medicines and over the counter drugs. It is only rare for a patient of heartburn to go through a surgery.
If the medications of heartburn reduce acid production, then how is the stomach able to digest food?
Medicines don’t completely stop the production of acid in the stomach. They only minimize acid production and allow as much acid to be produced that is sufficient for normal digestion of food. The stomach also makes use of enzymes to digest food and medicines do not disturb that in any way.
I face terrible heartburn during my pregnancy. What can I do to find relief?
80% of the pregnant women suffer from heartburn mostly in their third trimester. The reason it is so common in pregnant women is that their digestive system works slowly as it is subjected to hormonal fluctuations. Secondly, the uterus increases in size, which cramps the stomach in a small place, making the stomach acid rise.
These are some of the methods you can use to minimize heartburn while you are pregnant:
- Say no to spicy, rich or deep fried foods or any food you believe triggers heartburn in you.
- Walk a little after having a meal rather that directly lying down.
- Take your time when you eat that is eat slowly.
- Take many small meals in a day rather than 3 large meals.
- Talk to your doctor if you can take any over the counter heartburn drug like Maalox.
- Either keep the head of your bed higher or take two pillows to keep your head higher. This prevents the acid from rising up.
If you are still facing the problem, go see a doctor. He might prescribe a medicine that is safe to take in pregnancy.