When the world goes under lockdown, everything comes to a standstill. People remain restricted to their domestic environment, and daily routine becomes a plethora of repetitive actions. The downside, however, of staying indoors is that we become sluggish and lethargic and resort to a passive lifestyle where most of our time is spent lying in front of the television and binge eating. People do not find this pattern erratic, especially short-term. Still, over the course of time, it becomes detrimental to human health.
One of the leading issues that people face is acid reflux and heartburn. It begins to worsen if not handled timely. In a situation such as a corona pandemic, it is necessary to know it’s management.
What Is Acid Reflux and Heartburn?
There is a circular ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which unites your stomach and the esophagus. This muscle is responsible for constricting the esophagus once food passes through it to the stomach. If this fails to happen, the acid produced by the stomach can move up towards the throat. This is known as acid reflux.
The lining of the esophagus is more sensitive than that of the stomach. Hence, when acid encounters the esophageal tract, it produces a sharp, burning sensation in our chest, which is commonly known as heartburn.
Heartburn is, therefore, a symptom of acid reflux, not a condition itself.
What Causes of Acid Reflux and Heartburn?
- Obesity: Being overweight puts excess pressure on your stomach. According to a study, there is a strong correlation between the incidence of acid reflux in people who are obese.
- Stomach abnormality: One of the common causes of acid reflux is a stomach abnormality called hiatal hernia in which the LES and upper part of the stomach move above the diaphragm. Hence, acid comes in contact with the esophagus more frequently.
- Smoking: It is linked to acid reflux in a way that promotes acid secretion, reduces the function of the LES, and damages mucous membranes.
- Food: Eating food in a large quantity or lying down immediately after a meal triggers symptoms of acid reflux. Foods such as carbonated beverages, alcohol, fried food, citrus fruits are regarded as acidic reflux foods as they bring about some of its symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux can present itself as:
- Heartburn: A sharp, burning sensation in the chest region and can sometimes be felt extending around the neck and throat.
- Dry Cough or Wheezing: Usually after a heavy meal or lying down immediately after eating can cause a persistent dry cough.
- Nausea: Sour taste from the rising stomach acids alongside coughing can cause a sensation of nausea.
- Bloating: When your upper belly feels bloated and you feel an uncomfortably full sensation after eating a normal meal is usually linked to reflux.
Natural Remedies for Heartburn and Acid Reflux
A teaspoon of baking soda mixed with eight ounces of water can help neutralize the stomach acids. It acts as a non-prescription antacid. Do not exceed its use as it is concentrated in salt content. So, when you’re suffering from acid regurgitation and have baking soda in your kitchen, give this method a go!
According to a study, chewing sugar-free gum for thirty minutes after a meal can help alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux. Chewing gum stimulates salivary glands that increase saliva production, which then flows away from any acid and improves your condition.
Bananas are low-acid, gastric friendly fruits that act as antacids to help acid reflux. Eat one fully ripe banana every day to ease the acid discomfort in your esophagus.
Ginger tea is regarded to have various healing benefits for many stomach related problems. Simmer a few slices of ginger in water for thirty minutes. For optimum results, drink this before a meal to enhance its effect.
Chamomile tea helps reduce stress, which can worsen heartburn. It also neutralizes the acidity in your stomach to relieve symptoms. Chamomile tea is readily available in the market, and all you have to do is boil water and stir the tea contents in it. For best results, consume this tea thirty minutes before sleeping.
Avoid Lying Down After a Meal
Lying down immediately after eating puts pressure on your LES, which then causes food to move back up. This is why it is imperative to eat at least three hours before you rest. Also, keep your head slightly elevated when you lie down.
Mustard contains an alkaline, which helps balance out the acidity and prevents it from rising. Take one teaspoon of mustard whenever you feel a heartburning sensation or any other symptom of acid reflux.
Acid reflux is a common condition. It has happened to all of us at one point or the other in our lives. But the good news is that it is very manageable if appropriately handled. Try these natural remedies for heartburn and acid reflux whenever you experience similar symptoms, and you’ll experience the difference within minutes.