Heartburn or acid reflux generally occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter valve weakens, or fails to work properly. The result is heartburn, or acid reflux. Alhtough medications such as acid blockers or inhibitors and antacids help reduce symptoms, they are not appropriate treatments for everyone. For these individuals, home remedies can very effective, and oftentimes, mitigate the symptoms altogether. Symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux typically include a burning sensation in the throat, chronic cough, constant throat clearing, and difficulty swallowing. In addition, a condition known as a globus sensation is sometimes noticed. People suffering from globus sensation often feel as though there is something stuck in their throats that feels like a lump. Although common in those with reflux disease, globus can also be the result of anxiety.
Avoiding coffee, chocolate, spicy foods, onions and garlic can help stave off an acid reflux episode, as can limiting intake of alcohol, peppermint and rich, fatty foods. Smoking is another common cause of acid reflux, and those who smoke, should be encouraged to quit. In addition, chewing sugarless gum may also help reduce acid production, as might increasing your intake of water. Obesity is another common cause for reflux disease, so weight management may also help reduce symptoms. Raising the head of the bed is another effective method of relieving symptoms of reflux disease. It helps prevent the migration of irritating stomach acids from reaching the esophagus and throat. Although sleeping on a few pillows may help keep acid down, a more effective way is to raise the head of the bed with large blocks. Certain medications can also promote the development of acid reflux disease. These include antihistamines, cardiac medications known as beta blockers and antianxiety medications. When heartburn is severe, individuals can talk to their doctors about reducing the dosage or switching medications.
While home remedies are often effective, severe or prolonged heartburn requires medical intervention. Chronic esophageal irritation can cause a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, and if not recognized and treated, can lead to a malignant transformation in the esophagus. When home remedies, lifestyle modifications and medications fail to relieve symptoms of acid reflux, surgical intervention may be necessary for complete resolution of symptoms. The Reflux Clinic is dedicated to helping those with heartburn, acid reflux disease and other gastic problems,