Millions of Americans suffer from heartburn. Research shows that cases of heartburn have doubled over the last ten years. Today, more than 60 million Americans report at least one case of heartburn each month. Additional research shows close to 15 million Americans have heartburn symptoms every day.
If you suffer from heartburn, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are several heartburn home remedies you can use to feel better and prevent future incidents. Discover natural ways to treat heartburn symptoms and feel better today.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a digestive system issue that occurs in the esophagus. Symptoms of heartburn include a burning sensation and pain in the throat and chest. The problem is caused when acid breaches the lower esophageal sphincter and enters the throat. The lining of the throat is much thinner than the stomach lining. The acid burns the esophageal lining, causing irritation and discomfort.
Heartburn can be a stand-alone problem or a symptom of a more serious problem such as acid reflux disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These terms are often used interchangeably but are technically different ailments. Acid reflux disease is caused by too much acid and GERD is the chronic form of acid reflux. Heartburn is simply an acid reflux symptom. Heartburn is easily identifiable as it starts with burping followed by a burning sensation just behind the breastbone.
What Causes Heartburn?
Heartburn may be caused by a variety of factors. Certain foods may trigger acid reflux or heartburn. Alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, and acidic foods have all been linked to heartburn. Certain over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin and other prescription medications may cause heartburn.
Smoking can cause heartburn as the chemicals in cigarettes minimize the function of the esophageal sphincter. People who are pregnant may also experience higher incidences of heartburn since there is added pressure on the abdominal cavity.
The Best Heartburn Home Remedies
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular natural home remedy for a host of digestive disorders. ACV may provide heartburn relief by neutralizing stomach acid. Some research shows that mixing apple cider vinegar with warm water may help to minimize heartburn caused by GERD (1). Experts recommend drinking a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water after each meal to prevent heartburn.
Baking Soda and Water
Baking soda is a famous acid neutralizer. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a large glass of warm water. Stir well and sip slowly. The baking soda should work to neutralize the excess acid, helping to minimize the burning sensation.
One of the best ways to minimize the risk of heartburn is to stop smoking and eat a healthy diet. Avoid eating large meals as this can increase pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and allow acid to enter the throat. Try to eat smaller meals and avoid fatty foods, which may irritate the stomach.
An active weight loss plan may also help reduce the occurrence of heartburn symptoms. Extra pounds increase pressure on the stomach, which can cause acid to leak into the esophagus. A long-term plan to lose weight by eating healthy and getting enough exercise can help prevent heartburn and also lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.
Wear Loose Clothing
Excess pressure on the stomach can lead to heartburn. If you wear tight clothing, the attire may restrict the stomach and cause acid to leak into the esophagus. If you are wearing tight clothing and eat a large meal, try loosening your belt or pants to alleviate pressure. Even better, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing to prevent heartburn in the first place.
Ginger may help to soothe heartburn thanks to its chemical composition. Try ginger chewing gum after a meal or pour yourself a piping hot cup of ginger tea. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and encourages the body to swallow more regularly. This can help move excess acid from the throat back into the stomach. Try chewing ginger gum for 30 minutes after a meal. For ginger tea, simply add one teaspoon of loose leaf ginger tea to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 3 to 7 minutes.
A study published in Molecular Research and Food Nutrition found that ginger reduced acid levels six to eight times better than lansoprazole—a common heartburn OTC medication known as Prevacid. The study also showed that ginger had protective powers for the stomach lining thanks to proteolytic enzymes in the root (2).
Many people think that lying down may help alleviate digestive problems. In the case of heartburn, the opposite is true. If you experience heartburn, try to stand up or sit up straight. Standing helps to minimize pressure on the stomach and makes it easier for the body to digest food. If you experience these symptoms at bedtime, try propping yourself up with three or four pillows.
Eliminate Heartburn Naturally
Heartburn is one of the main acid reflux symptoms. If you find yourself suffering from frequent heartburn, contact a healthcare professional. They may recommend taking antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to help treat the heartburn.
Minor to moderate cases of heartburn can be treated at home using natural remedies. These heartburn remedies have few side effects and help to lower acid production and streamline the digestive system. Some people will need to make lifestyle changes to avoid foods and triggers that cause heartburn. If you experience heartburn, try one of the natural remedies to feel better fast.