Over sixty million Americans suffer from the symptoms of stomach acid reflux and heartburn. In addition to a burning sensation and pain in the stomach and behind the breastbone, it is often accompanied by bloating, gas, nausea, and sometimes shortness of breath. It occurs when the hydrochloric acid that your stomach uses to digest food backs up and irritates the sensitive lining of your esophagus.
If you have a hiatal hernia, you probably suffer from frequent episodes of heartburn. Other causes include excessive consumption of highly spiced foods, fatty or fried foods, or highly acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
Some herbal remedies have been successful at preventing severe episodes of acid reflux. Chamomile tea is known to relieve the irritation of the esophagus. Pour a cup of boiling water over two or three heaping teaspoons of dried or fresh flowers, and allow it to steep for fifteen or twenty minutes. You can drink up to three cups daily. Fennel tea is also recognized as an effective aid for reflux.
Raw potato juice, mixed with equal parts fresh water consumed three times daily is also an effective remedy for soothing acid reflux. Some people find relief by mixing one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of pure water, and drinking it with your meals. Do not consume any other beverage with your meals.
Try to include more raw vegetables with your meals, and eat smaller meals several times each day. Your stomach produces less stomach acid when you eat this way, so you have a smaller chance of irritating the stomach lining. Adding fresh pineapple or papaya to your meals will naturally aid the digestive process and help prevent an episode of acid reflux.
Antacids can provide quick relief from the symptoms of stomach acid reflux, but they can also mask symptoms of any other underlying problems you may have. Most over the counter antacids contain excessive sodium, aluminum, magnesium and calcium. If these products are over used, harmful mineral imbalances can occur.
Prescription medications work by suppressing the production of stomach acid. The long-term effects of this are just being discovered, and some research is indicating that some unwelcome side effects may occur after long-term use of these medications.
Some common medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach and initiate an episode of acid reflux. If you currently take these medications, always eat something when taking them to protect your stomach.
Several foods have been identified as the main cause of heartburn and acid reflux. These include processed foods, carbonated beverages, alcohol, onions, tomato products, fried foods and chocolate. Not all of these foods cause reflux in everyone. You will need to keep a food diary to track how each food affects your symptoms.
If you suffer from acid reflux at night, it is a good idea to stop eating three hours before you lay down. Some people have found that placing small blocks of wood under the head of the bed to elevate it is a good solution for their nighttime acid reflux.
If you find that you are frequently suffering from stomach acid reflux, or you are having difficulty finding relief, you should contact your health care professional to determine the cause of your symptoms.
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