Acid Reflux Treatment Options
Acid reflux affects 60 million Americans every month. There are many ways to treat acid reflux. Some are short term quick fixes, others require a little more commitment, and there are also herbal supplements and pharmaceutical drugs available for acid reflux.
There are many ways to stop heartburn quickly, but most of these remedies are only recommended for occasional use. Prolonged use may result in negative side effects.
- Antacids: These usually consist of a combination of three salts: calcium, magnesium, and aluminum. They usually also have hydroxide or bicarbonate ions that neutralize stomach acid. These can cause either constipation or diarrhea depending on the combination of salts.
- Sodium bicarbonate: Mixed with water will neutralize the acid in your stomach, relieving heartburn. Although this solves the immediate problem, in the long run it can make things worse by increasing the gas and pressure within your stomach.
Natural Acid Reflux Management Techniques
If you have a chronic problem with acid reflux, the following steps can be taken. They do not require a prescription and they have no negative side effects.
- Diet change. Avoiding spicy, fatty, or acidic foods may help reduce your acid reflux. Also avoid other foods like peppermint, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, and alcohol that are known to cause heartburn.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess fat can cause increased pressure on the stomach, which contributes to acid reflux.
- Avoid bending over for long periods of time. It is ok to bend down for a moment to tie your shoes, but hunching over your garden to weed for an hour probably will aggravate your heartburn.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking aggravates heartburn by relaxing the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach.
- If you experience chronic heartburn during the night, raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches by propping up the head end with wooden blocks. This will allow gravity to keep the acid in your stomach. Studies have also shown that sleeping on your left side, rather than on your right side or your back will alleviate acid reflux.
- Do not lie down after meals.
- Eat smaller meals.
- Do not wear tight clothes. Loosen your belt a notch or two.