Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when the liquid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, creating a painful feeling of heartburn that lingers for quite awhile. It occurs when the muscular valve that controls the entrance to the stomach is weak.
A burning feeling in the upper chest that lingers for a long time is the primary symptom. Some people also complain of a bitter taste. Other possible side effects may include chest pain when lying down, a sour taste, regurgitation of food or liquid and coughing, wheezing, hoarseness or sore throat. To prevent some of these symptoms, eat your last meal of the day at least two or three hours before retiring for the night, eat smaller portions, eat slowly and chew your food carefully, reduce your stress level and stop smoking.
Trigger foods for acid reflux include chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, citrus, mint, tomato, spicy food and fried foods, onions and garlic. Being overweight or a smoker can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Pregnant women often suffer from acid reflux when the uterus is large and pressing up on the stomach. If you lie down after eating, bend forward or lift something heavy right after a meal, you can trigger reflux. Hiatus hernia can also cause it.
Persistent or frequent acid reflux can cause scarring of the esophagus, asthma, esophageal bleeding and ulcers, erosion of the teeth and esophageal cancer. Be sure and see a doctor if you experience reflux two or more times per week. Your doctor can diagnose gastro-esophageal reflux by conducting an examination or through an xray or endoscopy.
- Ginger well known for its ability to soothe the stomach, ginger can be taken as a supplement either before or after a meal to help with reflux.
- Chamomile another soothing herb, chamomile herbal tea can be taken as an after dinner treat or prior to a meal to calm the stomach.
- Aloe vera drink ¼ cup of aloe vera juice about 20 minutes before a meal to prevent reflux. It also soothes an irritated esophagus.
- Basil infuse 4-6grams of dried leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink 1 cup a day.
- Slippery Elm this herb contains mucilage, which is a gel-like substance that swells up when added to water. The mucilage coats the esophagus and limits the irritation. It can also be found in lozenges.
- Marshmallow this herb also contains mucilage. Marshmallow root tea is the most common way to take this. Add 1 tablespoon of dried root to a cup of boiling water. Allow it to steep for at least 10 minutes, then strain before drinking. Take up to three cups per day. If you are diabetic, talk to your physician before taking marshmallow, since it can lower your blood sugar.
- Meadowsweet - is considered an antacid herb that is said to heal and soothe the digestive tract and associated with treating peptic ulcers and gastritis. Meadowsweet offsets the acidic effects of salicylic acid. Take meadowsweet 3 times a day.
- Pineapple this fruit contains enzymes that will help reduce acid reflux's inflammation and helps heal the damage that has already been done. The enzyme known as bromelain that is found in pineapples will also aid the digestion. Some people may find pineapple irritates and therefore they should exclude pineapple from the diet.
- Fennel infuse half a teaspoon of crushed seeds in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink 3 cups a day. Fennel is associated with stimulating good digestion by relaxing the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract and helps alleviate acid-stomach.
- Chicory take an herbal tea made of chicory root as a treatment for reflux. Boil 1-1/2 cups of chicory root for ten minutes. Let it cool. Strain and drink this tea after meals to reduce the symptoms and discomfort of acid reflux.
- Celery eating celery can cool off the burn of acid reflux. Just eat one at the end of your meal or at the onset of heartburn for almost immediate relief.
- Turmeric Turmeric is known to aid in digestion and reduce stomach acid levels and may be useful in capsule form.
Other things that you could do, include, eating smaller meals, chew your food well & stop smoking.
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