Nothing ruins a great meal more than acid reflux. (Poor service and a hair in your entree come close.) That unpleasant burning sensation in the chest can have you vowing to avoid anything that requires swallowing, but life is too short to give up your favorite foods.
We’ve got tips to help the one in five Albany residents who suffer from heartburn manage their condition.
Natural Heartburn Remedies
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly referred to as acid reflux or heartburn, affects an estimated 60 million Americans.
GERD occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus, causing irritation and symptoms that include a burning sensation in the chest, as well as chest pain, swallowing difficulty, regurgitation that leaves a sour or bitter taste in the mouth, burping, nausea and stomach bloating. Symptoms are often worse after eating a meal and while lying down.
Antacids may help, but they can cause unpleasant side effects when overused.
Natural Remedies for Acid Redlux
Stronger prescription-strength medications and surgery are other options, but before taking such drastic measures, your Albany ENT doctor suggests trying some of the following natural remedies.
- Cut back on food intake. Eating too much, too fast is one of the main causes of heartburn. Try slowing down and enjoying your food; this will give your body time to digest properly and will help you feel fuller eating less.
- Avoid fatty, greasy and spicy foods. Some might argue there is no such thing as too much pizza, but foods that are fatty, greasy or spicy can cause acid reflux. Choose lean meats and vegetables instead.
- Don’t eat meals too close to bedtime. Because lying down often triggers or intensifies acid reflux, make sure you finish eating at least three hours before going to bed.
- Go easy on the alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is a known trigger for acid reflux. Drink in moderation and, as with eating, space out that last glass of wine so you aren’t sipping it too closely to bedtime.
- Chew gum. Gum, especially when it contains bicarbonate, can help reduce acid in the esophagus.
- Slow down. Waiting 30 to 45 minutes after eating before engaging in vigorous physical activity will help with digestion, preventing acid reflux.
If these tricks don’t help and heartburn remains a persistent problem, we recommend scheduling an appointment with an Albany ear, nose and throat specialist—especially if you are experiencing additional symptoms (unexplained weight loss, pain when swallowing, chronic sore throat, etc.).