Acid reflux is a common issue that affects plenty of people across the world. One of the leading symptoms of this condition is heartburn, which is generally described as a burning sensation within the abdomen region. Generally, people think that something is wrong with their hearts or that they’re undergoing a cardiac arrest, which is why heartburn is given this name.
However, the reality differs from what most people believe. Technically speaking, you have a small valve at the end of your esophagus known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that prevents the digestive contents from going back up. But when digestive contents somehow enter your esophagus, it causes discomfort and a burning sensation which can result in severe pain. This entire condition is known as acid reflux and its most common symptom is heartburn.
In fact, studies show that, on average, 20% of people living in western countries such as Europe, the US, and Canada experience acid reflux and heartburn.
On this note, let’s take a look in detail at some of the most common causes, triggers, and remedies for acid reflux and heartburn.
What Causes Heartburn & Acid Reflux?
Experts believe that heartburn and acid reflux have different causes. And a number of factors can contribute to their occurrence. However, foods high in acid or fat – citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, onions, peppermint, cheese, and coffee, – are the most common culprits.
Similarly, foods that are too spicy or meals that you eat in large quantities can also be a potential cause. Sometimes, depression and stress can also cause acid reflux or heartburn. So, the best way to deal with it is to manage your stress effectively and to take care of your mental health.
Some sedatives and antihypertensive drugs can also cause heartburn, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Tobacco in cigarettes is known to affect LES function, too; the muscle relaxes when smoking, which can cause heartburn. Additionally, being pregnant or simply overweight can also cause heartburn due to added pressure on the stomach and abdomen.
Some common symptoms of acid reflux & heartburn are:
- Feeling a burning sensation when lying down or bending over
- Feeling extra full or heavy immediately after a meal.
- Sour taste in the mouth
In fact, as we have mentioned before, heartburn itself is a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux is a serious illness that, if left untreated, can lead to GERD, i.e., gastroesophageal reflux disease – a more severe and complicated form of acid reflux.
Tips to Avoid Acid Reflux
Medical experts are of the opinion that an increase in sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy dietary habits is a leading cause of acid reflux leading to heartburn and GERD. So, the best way to avoid acid reflux, heartburn, or any disease is by improving your quality of life.
Try to incorporate exercise in your everyday life because an active person is a healthy person. Similarly, eating a healthy and nutritious diet will also significantly benefit you in the long run. Try to make a salad with ACV dressing a regular part of your diet. Some apple cider vinegar benefits include:
- maintaining a healthy body,
- aiding in weight loss,
- helping in digestion,
- detoxifying or cleansing the body
Besides these, you can gain several other advantages from using ACV as well.
Remedies to Relieve Acid Reflux and Heartburn Immediately
Even though many people tend to use medication to get rid of the burning sensation in their body immediately, health experts recommend that going for natural remedies first is always a better option. In fact, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to control gastroesophageal reflux before turning to drugs.
So, let’s take a look at them:
- Change your Eating Habits
Try to eat your food slowly and in small chunks as it will help you in digesting it properly. A full stomach can result in more reflux into the esophagus. You might try eating in a grazing pattern, which is a practice of eating small meals frequently, rather than three large meals if it fits into your schedule. Therefore, you need to make changes in your lifestyle accordingly.
- Don’t Drink Carbonated Beverages
When you drink carbonated drinks, your stomach burps, which causes acid to enter your esophagus; instead of drinking sparkling water, drink flat water. Or you can even try to drink ACV water; apple cider vinegar for acid reflux has proved to be quite effective.
- Shed Some Extra Pounds
Losing unhealthy fats is always good. Again, we are not trying to body shame anyone, but for your own health reasons, you should consider losing your bad fat.
- Quit Smoking
Medical experts recommend that if you’re continuously experiencing acid reflux and heartburn and you smoke, then you should consider quitting it. Because during smoking, the LES loosens, which causes the leaking of acid in the esophagus.
Before We Part!
Simply put, acid reflux and heartburn are quite painful experiences that no one should regularly bear. Therefore, if you’re going through it, try out these remedies, and make necessary lifestyle changes. But even if the symptoms reoccur, do see a specialist at your earliest. Because it can lead to esophageal cancer and ulcers if left untreated. So, you should not take it lightly.