There are few things worse than the burning in your chest from acid reflux. And it is incredibly frustrating to know you aren’t supposed to have it, but not know how to fix it.
You may have come to terms with your acid reflux, and have just accepted that this is part of your daily life. No medications are doing it for you and if you suck on one more terrible tasting lozenge you may as well just cut your tongue off (though that wouldn’t stop the uncomfortable pain). But I’m hear to tell you that you don’t have to settle for anything less than healthy digestion, nor should you want to.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
The most common acid reflux and GERD symptoms include: (1)
- Bitter taste in your mouth, periodically or for some people throughout the day — some people taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of their mouths/throats
- Waking up feeling like you’re choking or coughing in the middle of the night
- Dry mouth
- Gum irritation, including tenderness and bleeding
- Bad breath
- Regurgitation of acidic foods
- Bloating after meals and during bouts of symptoms
- Bloody vomiting (possible sign of damage in lining of esophagus)
- Black stools
- Belching, gassiness, burping and flatulence after meals
- Hiccups that are difficult to stop
- Difficulty swallowing (possible sign of narrowing esophagus)
- Unexpected weight loss
- Discomfort worsens when bending over or laying down
- Hoarseness upon arising or throughout the day
- Chronic throat irritation, soreness and dryness
Heartburn, GERD, or Acid Reflux?
These painful digestive conditions are all related and develop in stages.
Heartburn is considered the backward flow of acid into the esophagus. As this worsens, it is eventually considered GERD.
In it estimated that more than 60 million American’s suffer from heartburn at least one time per month. (2) Studies also show that heartburn and acid reflux symptoms have risen nearly 50% in the past decade. (3)
Monthly or even weekly digestive issues may not seem like a huge deal, but this can lead to some major health issues.
If left untreated, heartburn can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precursor to cancer, says Timothy Pfanner, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in College Station.
Chronic heartburn can also lead to narrowing of the esophagus.
If you’re here, it is obvious that your conventional medications aren’t helping as much as you’d like, or you are searching for an alternative.
Conventional medications such as Nexium, Pepcid, Prevacid, or Prilosec can lead to vitamin deficiency which can result in even worse acid reflux symptoms/ digestion problems as well as IBS, depression, fatigue, anemia.
Acid reflux is essentially a digestive issue. This likely comes from inflammation in the body from a food allergy or intolerance.
The first place that this issue should be addressed is through the diet.
Some foods that tend to make acid reflux worse and should be avoided to aid in minimizing symptoms:
- Carbonated beverages, sugary drinks or energy drinks
- Artificial sweeteners
- Fried foods
- Spicy foods
- Processed foods
Supplements for Acid Reflux Symptoms
In conjunction with a healthy diet, there are supplements that can be taken to help with symptoms:
- Digestive enzymes
- Chamomile, papaya or ginger herbal tea — Drink a cup of any of these teas, sweetened with some local honey for added benefits.
- Magnesium supplement – Magnesium deficiency can lead to acid reflux symptoms.
Other tips –
- Exercise – Yoga is great for your overall health and especially digestion. Pilates is also great for digestion
- Don’t overeat.
- Chew your food! Your stomach doesn’t have teeth and it is incredibly hard on your digestive tract if you don’t chew your food thoroughly.
- Give up smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
- Give your body nearly 3 hours to digest foods before going to bed.
*As always, check with your Doctor before adding in any new supplements or changing your diet!*