Everyone will experience at least one bout of acid reflux in their lifetime, while around 20 percent of the population will contend with reflux as a more chronic, long-lasting condition.1 The good news is the right acid reflux remedy can help ease reflux discomfort.
Home remedies for acid reflux are nothing new, and over the years, many more have come to light. So when it comes to those unexpected reflux attacks, you’ve got solutions.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Gastroesophageal reflux, commonly known as acid reflux, is not so much a condition as it is a symptom of other conditions. It occurs when stomach acid backs up from your stomach into your esophagus.
Some of the biggest triggers of acid reflux include:
- Irritating food and beverages (coffee, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes, spicy foods)
- Certain medications
- A hiatal hernia – a condition where the stomach moves up into the chest2
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
So, what does acid reflux feel like?
Well, most commonly, there is a burning sensation in the middle of the chest – that’s heartburn. You may also taste a sour acidness in your mouth, which is your stomach acid.
But acid reflux also has some less obvious symptoms, like:
- A persistent cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- A sore throat
- Bad breath
- Gum irritation
- Persistent belching3
What is GERD?
Sometimes, you will see the word GERD (or gastroesophageal reflux disease) used when talking about acid reflux. GERD is a chronic, long-lasting version of acid reflux.
GERD usually occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter — the valve that blocks off the esophagus from the stomach — opens at the wrong time, or isn’t closing effectively. Long-lasting acid reflux can be a serious concern as it can damage the esophagus.
So, if your reflux doesn’t seem to be getting better, you should put aside your home remedies for acid reflux and talk to your doctor about your options.4
Best Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
If you find that you occasionally suffer from acid reflux, there are plenty of natural heartburn relief options to try. If you’d like to know how to get rid of acid reflux naturally, read on for five of the best and most effective acid reflux home remedies.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Using vinegar to calm acid may sound counterintuitive as an acid reflux remedy, however, sometimes acid reflux results from having too little stomach acid.5 Though ACV is acidic, it’s also an alkalizing substance, which means it can help to balance your body’s pH level.6
Some people find relief drinking a glass of water mixed with a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
2. Baking Soda
Now, there are many over-the-counter antacids that can act as an acid reflux remedy. Did you know that many OTC antacids contain sodium bicarbonate, which is the active ingredient in baking soda? When it comes to natural remedies for acid reflux, baking soda is one of the best.
So, you can turn to the baking soda in your kitchen to help neutralize rising acid in your stomach. Mix a teaspoon in a glass of water as soon as you feel your symptoms start.
Note: Baking soda is a temporary remedy for acid reflux and health professionals do not recommend its long-term use. It’s high in sodium and may affect the absorption of certain medications. If you have ongoing issues with reflux, see your doctor.7
3. Chewing Gum
This one’s a fun fact, and particularly handy when you need acid reflux home remedies on the run. The act of chewing gum stimulates saliva, and this excess saliva may help to dilute the acid in your esophagus.8
Just make sure your gum is sugar-free and, if you have a choice, bicarbonate gum is even more effective.9 If reflux hits after you eat, have gum handy and start chewing.
4. Inclined Sleeping
When you sleep, your acid reflux can hit the hardest. You see, when you stand, your stomach acid sits in the bottom of your stomach. But when you lie down it can flow up the sides of your stomach and back up into your esophagus.
Changing your sleeping position can be an effective acid reflux remedy. The aim is to sleep as upright as is comfortable – and always on your left side. Both of these things may help keep stomach acid from entering your esophagus. Also, avoid snacking or alcohol two to three hours before bed.
You can purchase foam wedges to assist with this acid reflux remedy. They will effectively prop up your mattress into a more inclined position.
Fennel has been used for centuries as a folk medicine for digestive upset. Today, researchers understand it’s the anethole in fennel that’s responsible (star anise and aniseed also contain anethole).
In studies, anethole has had a protective effect on the gastrointestinal system.10
Many people find fennel tea (or one that is aniseed-based) is a wonderful acid reflux remedy, especially right after a meal.
Acid Reflux Remedy: Prevention Is Always Better
Acid reflux home remedies and natural heartburn relief is well within your reach. But everybody’s different, so it may take some experimentation with natural remedies for acid reflux to find what works best for you.
While turning to home remedies for acid reflux is a good option, preventing reflux in the first place is ideal. If you know that spicy food, alcohol, coffee, or eating right before bed induces your acid reflux, then it’s time to make some lifestyle changes.
An acid reflux remedy should always be seen as a short-term approach and, while these tips for natural heartburn relief can be effective, you should always talk to your doctor about any ongoing reflux issues you have.