Everybody has at some point in their lives suffered from acid reflux. It is one of the most common disorders of the stomach and can seriously affect the quality of your life. Acid reflux disorder, as the name suggests refers to the increase in acid production that finds its way up through the Oesophagus.
The stomach naturally produces acid to aid in digestion. The stomach is lined with thick cells that provide protection against the action of the acid. These cells keep getting restored frequently and we do not naturally feel the acid acting in our stomach. The Oesophagus or the food pipe does not have such a strong lining of cells and the acid can perform corrosive action here giving the feeling of heart burn.
The most common feeling of acid reflux is referred to as acidity but it can cause feelings of bloating (feeling full without having consumed a heavy meal) and excessive gas.
In worst case scenarios, the acid can travel up the ear canal and can even cause dizziness. If poorly managed, over a long period of time, it can lead to stomach ulcers, oesophageal cancer and a host of other issues.
The most common cause of acid reflux is the malfunctioning of the sphincter that guards the opening between the food pipe and the stomach. If this becomes weak, then the acid can travel back into the food pipe causing discomfort.
Obesity is one of the most common factors associated with the malfunctioning sphincter. Therefore, losing weight is one of the first steps in reducing acidity. As a person loses weight, the pressure on the sphincter is relaxed and it can start functioning normally again.
In addition, smoking, consuming heavy meals, sleeping immediately after meals or a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute towards increasing incidences of acid reflux.
People with acid reflux tend to sleep longer in the morning but still may feel lethargic. It can lead to a general feeling of uneasiness or irritation in the long run. Irritable bowel syndrome is often accompanied with acid reflux.
(1) The acid will find it easier to travel up to the body if you keep lying down frequently. Staying upright and physical exercise can remedy this. While it is not possible to remain upright all the time, increasing exercise time will help you in cutting down weight which automatically will decrease incidences of acid reflux.
(2) Eating smaller meals (one can always increase the number of meals per day) than three heavy meals can also decrease acidity. Do not immediately lie down after consuming a meal. Take a walk for about thirty minutes minimum before sleeping.
(3) Baking soda, a common household item has been used to provide immediate relief from acid reflux for centuries. However, this should not be taken daily since it can drastically reduce the pH of your stomach and can cause harm in the long run. However, for immediate, occasional relief, this is the easiest recipe.
(4) Avoid sleeping on your back. Instead sleeping sideways or on stomach can help in feeling relief. Raising the bed by placing some wooden pieces at the headrest side can also help. Pillows cannot offer the same level of comfort.
(5) Ayurvedic remedies are of great help in treating acid reflux. Consult an AYUSH practitioner who can advise on such ayurvedic medicines. Harad (Chebulic Myrobalan) is often a common ingredient of such Ayurvedic formulations.
If the feeling of acid reflux lasts longer than a month and the incidences do not go away even after trying home remedies, then it is time to visit a doctor. A doctor can prescribe anta-acids and other medicines to alleviate the issue. Sometimes, the cause can be because of other accompanying factors such as ulcers. Acid reflux can be managed through a combination of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
Disclaimer: The above article is not intended to offer medical advice. It is shared for information purposes. Consult a medical practitioner for any medicine advice. Ayurvedic formulations should also be taken after consultation with a registered Ayush practitioner.