There are a few questions we need to answer before we go into the heartburn home remedies. So what is heartburn anyway?
Heartburn is the leading symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a.k.a. GERD or acid reflux, acid indigestion, etc. (on this page, we will use all of those terms interchangeably). The pain and burning sensation of heartburn is caused by gastric acid (a.k.a. stomach acid) being regurgitated into the esophagus right below the breastbone near where the heart is located (although heartburn really has nothing to do with the heart). Many times, heartburn pain can even rise to the chest, neck, throat, and jaw. Chronic cough is also caused by acid reflux and sometimes mimics asthma.
So why, then, is gastric acid being regurgitated back into the esophagus from the stomach? It is due to a problem with the cardiac sphincter (a.k.a. the esophageal sphincter), a valve leading from the stomach to the esophagus. This problem with the cardiac sphincter is many times recognized as a hiatal hernia. Please note that the “cardiac sphincter” also has nothing to do with the heart; rather, “cardia” is in meaning part of the stomach.
Before you begin using any heartburn home remedies, you must know that heartburn can be diagnosed either biochemically or mechanically:
Biochemically: With esophageal pH monitoring, a probe is inserted through the nose into the esophagus to measure the acidity level near the cardiac sphincter. Acid reflux can be recognized in real-time with this method.
Mechanically: In one mechanical test, a manometer is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus, where is measures the pressure in the esophageal sphincter.
Another mechanical diagnosis is an endoscopy. The doctor inserts a thing tube with a camera on it through the mouth down to the esophagus and stomach. With this method, the doctor can clearly see any signs of esophageal inflammation due to excess acid. If this is so, then the doctor my take a biopsy, a small sample of the esophagus to study it close up.
Tips For Prevention
One of the best heartburn home remedies is that of prevention. If you can prevent heartburn before it even occurs, you won’t have to suffer through the horrible heartburn pain. So here are some short heartburn home remedies tips for prevention.
1) Sleep sitting up, or with the head, neck, and shoulders raised at least above the stomach. This will keep excess stomach acid from traveling upwards into your esophagus.
2) Eat smaller meals more frequently, as larger meals tend to create excess stomach acid, which then leads to heartburn.
3) Although not totally proven, avoiding certain foods like coffee, fruit juice, onions, chocolate, spicy foods, pretzels, tea, fatty foods, etc. can help reduce heartburn.
4) Don’t wear tight clothing around the abs. Though you may like to show off your six pack ;-) , tight clothing puts more pressure on the stomach and can cause more acid to reflux into the esophagus.
Heartburn Home Remedies Treatments
Here are some heartburn home remedies treatments that you can use to help ease heartburn pain once you begin to feel it.
1) Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid. Though stomach acid may still reflux or splash up into the esophagus, the pain will not be felt because it is no longer an acid. Antacids usually provide rapid relief of symptoms, but the relief usually only lasts for about an hour or less.
2) Another simple remedy is to drink a small mixture of baking soda and water. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) neutralizes acid just like an antacid does. Too much extra sodium in one’s diet, however, is not recommended; therefore, this is not an ideal permanent solution.
3) Pills called H2 blockers, or H2 receptor antagonists, work by minimizing the amount of acid released by the body. Therefore, they are used more as a preventative rather than for quick relief of symptoms.
4) Alginates are derived from brown seaweed and work by forming a barrier in the stomach that keeps acid from refluxing into the esophagus. This method provides faster and longer lasting relieve than antacids and H2-receptor antagonists.
5) Protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) work well for those who have no reaction to antacids. PPIs inhibit or block the acid-production proteins that control the acidity of the stomach, therefore letting the stomach digest them. They provide long-lasting relief, however aren’t fast-acting.
6) Restricting diet as stated above under “Preventions”.
7) Other alternative treatments as stated above under “Preventions”.
8) In some cases (which I don’t recommend), laparoscopic surgery can be performed on the esophagus.
9) Chew gum. Chewing gum inhibits more saliva production. As you swallow while chewing gum, saliva, being alkaline, helps neutralize acid, therefore being one of the heartburn home remedies for fast relief.
Now that you know about the causes of heartburn, you need to take action to stop it.
Tony McGuigano is the owner of the Front Lace Wigs website, as well as a website called Eye Exercises.