Getting rid of acid reflux, acid reflux disease, or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) as it’s known by physicians is about changing your lifestyle and eating habits more than taking any kind of medication. Medication can only get rid of acid reflux for so long before you start to gain a resistance to the medication. A few different things can cause Acid Reflux, but usually the blame can be laid at the feet of stress and bad eating choices. Stress causes reactions, such as the increase in the acids that then travel up the ol’ esophagus.
Similarly, a poor diet will also induce increased production of acids as part of your body’s effort to digest what it considers “difficult” foods. Particularly acidic foods and caustic substances like alcohol and cigarette smoke may also irritate your esophagus and stomach lining, exacerbating the symptoms of acid reflux. A lot of people don’t recover from acid reflux disease and simply treat the symptoms with drugs like proton pump inhibitors and calcium carbonate. What they don’t know is that acid reflux that is allowed to persist can cause more serious complications like a chronic cough, Barrett’s Esophagus, and even cancer. So, we should get to it and help prevent these kinds of results.
Cause of Acid Reflux and its Symptoms
Acid reflux as a disease is caused by a fairly simple process of your body whereby excess acids are regurgitate up into the esophagus (and sometimes even into the sinuses), where the corrosive properties of the stomach acids cause irritation and inflammation. These things are the causes of the symptoms that go with GERD.
The Symptoms of Acid Reflux
- Persistent heartburn
- Chest pains
- Hoarse voice
- Inability to swallow
- Bad breath
Best Ways to Get Rid of Acid Reflux
Changing your diet is the most effective way to get rid of acid reflux. Most physicians will tell you to limit your consumption of these key food groups: citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), chocolate, caffeinate drinks, fatty foods or deep-fried foods, garlic, onions, spicy foods like curry and hot wings, and any kind of tomato-based food (pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, the entirety of your favorite Italian diner’s menu, etc). As a rule of thumb, leave those foods out that have caused you discomfort in the past, and eat those foods that you know you can tolerate.
Eating smaller meals will help you get rid of acid reflux. Your esophagus, the length of tube that runs between your stomach and your mouth has a piece of equipment nearer your stomach called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter. If this lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t close properly, acid can get up into your esophagus and wreak all kinds of havoc on those sensitive tissues. Eating larger meals makes it hard for your LES to close properly. Consequently, and we don’t need a scientist to lead us to this conclusion, you get more acid refulx.
Drinking alcohol is against the rules if you’re suffering from acid reflux. If you don’t know how bad alcohol is for you already, then you must be living in denial. Alcohol can cause all sorts of irritation of bodily tissues like those lining the esophagus, the stomach, your pancreas, your upper intestines, your liver, and your kidneys—not to mention your brain after a few drinks. Alcohol is out of the question if you want to get rid of acid reflux.
Taking a walk after dinner can go a long way to getting rid of acid reflux that occurs at night. You can help your body digest food by going for a walk or getting some exercise after eating a meal later in the evening. Moving around and accelerating your metabolism will help push that meal through your digestive tract, leaving less food to sit in your stomach while you sleep. Food sits in your stomach over night, causing more acids to build up because your metabolism has slowed down your digestive processes. Make sure this doesn’t happen by waiting 2-3 hours to go to bed after eating.
Keep your head and chest elevated while you sleep to prevent acid reflux. You can help prevent acid from getting regurgitated by using gravity to your benefit. Keeping your head and chest elevated creates an incline, thus making it harder for liquids and acidic fluid to make its way up into your esophagus. I always sleep at a slight incline with two or three pillows to help support my neck and back to help avoid the burn after a spicy meal.
Acid Reflux Medication
There are all sorts of acid reflux medications on the market today. It’s just a matter of choosing one. I think perhaps if I was going to recommend a particular medication it would have to be Prilosec. Prilosec is an over-the-counter acid reflux and heartburn medication known as a proton pump inhibitor. Proton pump inhibitors work by blocking your body’s natural ability to produce gastric acid. Unlike other medications and heartburn relievers like Tums, Zantac, and Pepto-Bismol; proton pump inhibitors provide a long-lasting treatment for acid reflux; those other medications simply provide temporary relief by either neutralizing the existing acids in your stomach, or by activating inferior acid production blocking processes. Proton pump inhibitors generally take 2-3 days to start working, but once you work up the proper content of the drug in your blood, they tend to be far more effective at relieving pain and other symptoms associated with acid reflux. They are perhaps the only medicine that can be considered a long-term solution to getting rid of acid reflux. PPIs, like Prilosec OTC (which you can order in 42 count package from Amazon), block acid for longer periods of time than H2 blockers and promote the healing of inflammation.
Best Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
Chamomile tea. This is efficacious if you are drinking at least 4 cups a day. It helps settle down the ol’ tummy, and also increases your water intake to tamp down on the ol’ acid reflux.. You can try any type you’d like! We’d recommend, though, Tazo Chamomile tea which you can find at Amazon.
Slippery Elm is considered nature’s Tums or Rolaids. It usually comes in a powder form which is mixed with water to create a paste. This paste releases the herb’s natural healing properties. Set it aside for a few minutes while you boil some water as you would for tea. Then, mix the paste into a cup of freshly boiled water and drink it when it becomes cool enough.