Anyone with acid reflux will tell you the pain is like nothing else they've ever experienced. The lingering, burning sensation is enough to send you into tears and it's hard to stop it.
Acid reflux can present itself in many ways. Some people experience it as chest pain and heartburn, while others experience it as a regurgitation of acid up into the mouth. Both symptoms are extremely painful and can come on without warning.
It can be hard on your stomach to take over-the-counter pain relief all the time, but luckily there are ways to combat this pain with items you probably have at home. There are also ways you can prevent acid reflux from happening!
1. Baking Soda
Dissolving a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and drinking it slowly can relieve your acid reflux. The baking soda neutralizes your stomach acid, which is what's causing your pain.
Make sure you drink the mixture slowly. When you have acid reflux, drinking anything too quickly can cause a flare up and even more pain.
2. Diet Changes
A lot of people who suffer from acid reflux will find that their flare ups occur frequently after consuming foods that are processed, high in sugar, and high in fat. Junk food, fast food, and anything else fried or processed causes a bacterial imbalance in your intestines, which triggers your reflux.
Keeping those foods out of your body, and instead opting for fruits, veggies, and lower fat foods can help keep your flare ups at bay.
Other trigger foods can include:
- Citrus fruit
3. Avoid Belts & Tight Clothing
You know how everyone jokes around the holidays that they need to wear stretchy clothing in order to "make room" for all the food they're about to eat? They're not totally off base.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing and belts can cause your stomach to get compressed, which leads to the contents rising up through your esophagus. This is what causes acid reflux.
"When you put pressure on the abdomen, your food doesn't digest," Dr. Orly Avitzur says. "It risks not being able to be digested properly especially for people who have reflux esophagitis, heartburn or chronic heartburn. Tight clothing can aggravate those problems."
If you find yourself in pain after a recent bout of acid reflux, a piece of gum could be a game changer. Your body produces extra saliva when chewing gum, which can help to dilute the acid that is rising up in your esophagus.
Chewing gum for 30 minutes after each meal can help reduce your chance of an acid reflux flare up.
Milk is a great remedy for immediate relief of acid reflux, but be careful not to overdo it. Drinking eight ounces of skim milk is your best option if you're going to use this remedy. Overfilling your stomach with milk will only make the problem worse.
Higher fat milk can relieve pain for a short while, but the fat can end up making things worse down the road.
6. Stand Up Straight
Your posture can affect your acid reflux flare ups. Your lower esophageal muscle, or LEM, receives too much pressure when you're sitting or slouching. The LEM helps stop stomach acid from rising into your esophagus, and when it's compressed it can't function properly.
Standing up straight will allow your LEM to do its job and keep the acid where it's supposed to be.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has loads of health benefits, so taking some daily is probably in your best interest. An old folk remedy for acid reflux is drinking diluted apple cider vinegar after each meal, although the statistical evidence isn't substantial enough to come to any kind of conclusion.
That being said, it can't hurt to add apple cider vinegar to your daily routine!
Excess weight is a large contributing factor to acid reflux. In addition to taking out processed foods from your diet, increasing your activity level can also help balance out your body's natural function and decrease your chance of acid reflux flare ups.
9. Avoid Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes can increase your likelihood of heartburn, among many other risks. A lot of smokers who get heartburn turn to cigarettes to solve the problem, but it really just makes it worse.
Inhaling second-hand smoke can also cause flare ups, but it's not as likely.