- Home remedies for acid reflux include taking deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), eating smaller meals, and avoiding coffee.
- You should also avoid trigger foods that slow digestion, such as cheese, fried foods, processed snacks, and fatty meats.
- Eating smaller meals during the day instead of three large meals can also help relieve acid reflux symptoms.
- Check out Insider’s Insider Reference Library for more advice.
Acid reflux occurs when Stomach acid flows up your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach, causing chest and throat pain. It’s a common disease – 1 out of 5 people in the US are experiencing acid reflux.
Acid reflux can be uncomfortable, but lifestyle changes and home remedies can help relieve your symptoms without medication. Here are some steps you can take to treat acid reflux at home.
What is acid reflux?
When you eat or drink, the food usually travels down the esophagus to a muscle known as the esophageal sphincter, which opens to allow food to enter the stomach.
- Chest pain or burning sensation
- Pain or discomfort in the throat
- Belching of acidic liquid in the mouth or throat
- Eat a particularly large meal
- Eat late at night
- Certain foods or drinks, such as spicy foods, fried foods, alcohol, or coffee
- to smoke cigarettes
“Lifestyle changes are the first treatment when acid reflux is a problem,” he says Jacqueline Wolf, MD, Gastroenterologist and Professor at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This may include avoiding some of the causes listed above, but there are also several proven home treatments to help control acid reflux.
1. Lift your upper body while you sleep
Acid reflux often gets worse at nightThis is because when you lie down, stomach acid can more easily flow into your esophagus. You can improve nighttime symptoms by doing Change the angle of your body while you sleep.
In particular, it is helpful to lift your head and shoulders above your stomach and keep your esophagus sloping downward. For example, you can lift the head of your bed or lean on a sloping pillow. “This allows gravity to help clear out anything that gets into the esophagus at night,” says Wolf.
ON small study of 20 people published in 2011 The Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that people who had the head of their bed raised with an 8-inch block for a week saw significant improvements in their heartburn symptoms and had fewer problems sleeping.
And a Review 2016 Four studies found that even in people already taking acid reflux medication, adding an elevated sleeping position helped symptoms more than just taking medication alone.
To raise your bed, you can use bed straps under the top two feet of your bed frame. If this is not possible, you can purchase an inclined pillow to tilt your head and shoulders up while you sleep.
2. Try taking Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL).
DGL treats acid reflux because it helps Reduce inflammation in your esophagus. Inflammation, a reaction in your immune system, can be helpful when you need to heal a wound or fight an infection exacerbate health problems such as acid reflux for some people. This is because your immune system releases inflammatory cells called cytokines that can damage the lining of your esophagus.
Although DGL has been proven in combination with other acid reflux treatmentsMore research is needed to see how it works on its own.
DGL generally comes as a chewable tablet and can come in a variety of flavors for people who don’t like the taste of licorice. To use DGL for acid reflux you should take one 400 mg tablet 20 minutes before a meal or 20 minutes before bed if you have nighttime symptoms.
Other herbal remedies that can also help with acid reflux are as follows:
3. Eat smaller meals
Eat large meals puts more pressure on the sphincter muscle that separates your esophagus from your stomach. This increases the likelihood of the sphincter opening and acid flowing up your esophagus. Swapping large meals for smaller meals more often can relieve your symptoms.
For example, instead of eating three large meals, try dividing those servings over five smaller meals.
4. Limit coffee consumption
If you are a coffee drinker, reducing or cutting out your daily cups can help reduce acid reflux. This is because when you drink coffee, Your stomach is stimulated to make more stomach acidthat can be secured and flow into your esophagus. The caffeine in coffee too causes your esophageal sphincter to relaxThis allows the stomach contents to move upwards.
5. Avoid food trigger
Certain foods can increase your acid reflux. You want to avoid foods that slow digestion and sit in your stomach longer – because the longer you sit, the more likely it is that you will gain weight Stomach pressure and force your esophageal sphincter on.
Some foods that are likely to trigger acid reflux are:
- Fried food
- Processed snacks such as potato chips
- Oily meat like bacon
- Chili powder
When to see a doctor
If home remedies aren’t enough to control your acid reflux symptoms, you should see a doctor for medical treatment. Over time, untreated acid reflux can lead to more serious illnesses like Barrett’s esophaguswhere damage to the esophagus makes it difficult to swallow food. In rare cases, they can even develop Esophageal cancer.
The final result
Acid reflux is a common problem that can lead to daily discomfort, especially at night.
There are many over the counter remedies and lifestyle changes that you can use to improve your acid reflux symptoms. “However, if the symptoms persist or cause difficulty swallowing, or are linked to other symptoms, you should call your doctor,” says Wolf.