Are you suffering from GERD? You don’t have to live with the pain and discomfort. Read on to find out how to manage GERD symptoms at home with simple solutions.
Quick facts: Treating Gerd At Home
- ✅ Avoiding foods that cause heartburn can be the first step in managing GERD at home (Mayo Clinic).
- ✅ Elevating the head of the bed can decrease GERD symptoms and reduce acid reflux (Cleveland Clinic).
- ✅ Taking antacids to control stomach acid can help reduce GERD symptoms (American College of Gastroenterology).
- ✅ Eating smaller meals more frequently can reduce acid reflux symptoms (Harvard Health Publishing).
- ✅ Quitting smoking has been shown to reduce GERD symptoms (American College of Gastroenterology).
Checkout this video:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition caused by stomach acid refluxing back up into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD can include
- chest pain
- difficulty swallowing
It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of GERD to be able to properly treat it at home.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition characterized by the frequent backing up of stomach acid and other digestive juices into the esophagus, or food pipe, causing irritation and inflammation. GERD is a common health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s estimated that between 16 percent to 18 percent of adults in the United States suffer from GERD symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- Heartburn (burning sensation in the chest)
- Regurgitation with bitter or acidic tastes
- Throat discomfort and hoarseness
- Coughing or wheezing
- Bad breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain
- Feeling full quickly after meals
Other associated conditions include:
- Barrett’s esophagus (pre-cancerous changes in the lower esophageal lining)
- Dental erosion due to acid reflux from the stomach into the mouth
- Respiratory problems like bronchitis and asthma due to breathing backwashed acid from the stomach
- Laryngitis due to irritation from stomach acid backwashing onto vocal cords and more.
Symptoms of GERD
GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a chronic condition in which the stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation known as heartburn.
Symptoms of GERD may include a burning pain in the chest (heartburn), regurgitation of food or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, and feeling like food is stuck in your throat. Other common symptoms can include nausea and burping.
People with GERD may find that certain foods trigger their symptoms; for many people this includes acidic fruits such as oranges and lemons, spicy foods, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea, fatty or fried foods, chocolate and alcohol.
Treatment options for GERD include:
- Lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers and eating small meals throughout the day to reduce pressure on the stomach.
- Medications such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors can be taken on an as needed basis to control symptoms.
- If lifestyle changes do not provide relief your doctor may suggest surgery to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter to prevent acid reflux from occurring.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Diet and lifestyle changes are often the first line of treatment for GERD. Making changes to what you eat and drink and how you manage stress, can help to reduce the symptoms of GERD. There are certain foods and drinks to avoid, as well as certain activities to incorporate in order to better manage this condition.
Let’s discuss further:
Avoid trigger foods
Trigger foods are certain types of foods that are known to bring on GERD symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux. Common trigger foods include:
- Fatty or fried foods
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits and juices
It is also important to eat small meals more frequently throughout the day versus one large meal to prevent the stomach from becoming too full. Eating slowly can help reduce symptoms as well. It is also recommended to avoid eating within two hours of going to bed since this can increase the risk of reflux while lying down. Making these changes to your diet can help reduce GERD symptoms without the use of medication.
Eat smaller meals
Eating smaller meals is an effective way to treat GERD symptoms. Eating smaller, more frequent meals prevents your stomach from becoming overly full, which can increase pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and lead to acid reflux. Eating smaller meals also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which research has linked to better control of GERD symptoms.
Aim to eat at least three small meals per day and space them out throughout the day so that you are eating every four to five hours. Limit snacks between meals as much as possible because they may be too light and lack important digestive enzymes needed for proper digestion. Additionally, avoid eating late in the evening or before bedtime because lying down after eating increases your risk of developing acid reflux or heartburn.
Avoid eating late at night
Eating late at night can exacerbate GERD symptoms, so it is important to avoid this habit if you are looking to decrease your discomfort. Avoid eating any meals or snacks two to three hours before bedtime and stick to small, light meals before sleeping. Meat-filled meals with heavy sauces can be difficult to digest and cause acid reflux, so try dining on lighter foods like egg whites, oatmeal, vegetable soups or salads at night.
Additionally, if you find yourself experiencing heartburn symptoms shortly after eating, try eating smaller portions of food more often throughout the day instead. This will help keep your stomach from becoming overly full and uncomfortable.
Don’t lie down after eating
Lying down after eating can worsen your symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This is because lying down increases the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can cause food and stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. To minimize symptoms of GERD, try not to lie down for three hours after eating. Additionally, avoid activities that put extra pressure on your abdomen such as bending or heavy lifting while you have food in your stomach.
In addition to avoiding lying down, there are other ways to manage GERD at home:
- Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day instead of large meals can give your system time to digest.
- Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption may also help reduce GERD symptoms as well as reduce the risk of developing long-term complications associated with GERD such as esophagitis and Barrett’s Esophagus.
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help to reduce symptoms of GERD. When exercising, it’s best to focus on low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Exercise helps to keep the muscles in the stomach functioning properly, reducing reflux symptoms.
In addition to regular exercise, it’s also important to make sure that you are eating a healthy diet that is filled with fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and lean proteins. Avoiding foods that trigger reflux such as citrus fruits and spicy foods can also help to reduce symptoms of GERD. Eating smaller meals throughout the day can also help prevent GERD flare-ups by limiting the amount food in your stomach at one time.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder characterized by backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. While preventative lifestyle changes and medications prescribed by a physician should be the first line of defense, home remedies can often provide relief for mild sufferers.
Here are some tips for treating GERD at home:
Ginger is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to help manage Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Because of its calming effect, ginger can reduce the damage caused by stomach acid and reduce symptoms. It is also known to help with digestion and may even protect against stomach ulcers.
To use ginger as a home remedy for GERD, you can:
- Mix one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger into eight ounces of hot water, let it steep for five minutes and drink it.
- Have a cup of ginger tea.
- Add sliced pieces of fresh or dried ginger to other drinks.
- Suck on a piece of fresh or candied ginger after meals to help ease symptoms.
Drink chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is one of the most popular home remedies for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Consuming this soothing drink helps to reduce inflammation of the stomach and esophagus, which can be caused by GERD. When left untreated, GERD can cause a number of serious health issues including recurring chest pain, hoarseness, and erosion of the enamel on your teeth.
To make chamomile tea at home, steep a teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers in freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Strain out the flowers before drinking. You can sweeten it with honey or lemon if desired. Drink two cups daily to help relieve the symptoms associated with GERD. Chamomile tea is also beneficial for many other digestive issues such as:
- Upset stomach
Try apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for treating GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Apple cider vinegar is believed to work in two ways: first, it helps balance the stomach’s PH levels; second, it acts as an antacid.
To try this remedy, mix 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink it before meals. You can also add honey or lemon juice for taste.
It’s important to note that not everyone with GERD responds positively to this remedy, so it may be worthwhile to consult your doctor before trying it. Additionally, while some people claim that apple cider vinegar helps with indigestion and heartburn, there is little scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Probiotics, or “friendly bacteria,” can help balance out the acid in the stomach, according to a recent study. Probiotics are available as supplements, capsules, or fermented foods like yogurts and kefirs. If you try a probiotic supplement for your GERD symptoms, make sure to follow package instructions and take it at the same time of day each day.
It is also worth noting that probiotics may interact with certain medications (such as antibiotics), so it is best to speak with your healthcare provider before adding them into your routine. Additionally, although taking probiotics may improve symptoms of GERD over time, they should not replace medical treatment for more serious conditions.
Medications are one of the most common GERD treatments. Prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, which can help to reduce symptoms of GERD. Over-the-counter medications such as antacids can also be used to treat GERD symptoms.
Let’s take a look at the different medications that can be used to treat GERD:
Over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums, Maalox and Rolaids, are the most commonly used medications to treat GERD symptoms. These medications work by neutralizing excess stomach acid and providing relief from heartburn and indigestion. Antacids should be taken after eating a meal or whenever heartburn occurs.
When taking an antacid, it is important to follow the package instructions as each antacid product is different in terms of dosage size and frequency. It is also important to note that these medications may not provide long-term relief from GERD symptoms due to their short-acting nature.
If signs of GERD (heartburn and/or indigestion) persist despite the use of over-the-counter antacids, it is recommended that you consult with a doctor for further evaluation.
Prescription medications for GERD are powerful acid-suppressing drugs that work to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and can provide fast relief from symptoms. These medicines are taken as a pill or liquid.
Common prescription medications include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole, lansoprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, dexlansoprazole and esomeprazole.
PPIs work by blocking certain pumps in the stomach’s cells to reduce the production of acid. When the medicine is no longer taken, stomach acid returns to its normal level in approximately one week.
Other types of prescription medicines can also be prescribed if PPIs do not control your GERD symptoms or its complications. Examples include H2 blockers and motility agents such as metoclopramide or erythromycin.
It is important to note that long-term use of PPIs is associated with an increased risk for infections and other side effects, so make sure you discuss these risks with your doctor before beginning treatment.
When to See a Doctor
Although there are many tips and tricks to try at home to treat GERD, there are certain cases where seeking professional medical care is necessary. In some cases, GERD can be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition and simply managing the symptoms at home will not resolve it.
When should you seek medical help? Let’s go over the signs and symptoms that should prompt you to visit a doctor:
Seek medical attention if symptoms persist
It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) persist despite at-home treatment. A doctor can determine if GERD is present and evaluate the condition to develop a long-term treatment plan. A diagnosis may include gastric emptying tests, pH monitoring, and/or esophageal manometry.
Treatment plans may include lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods that trigger symptoms or taking medication to reduce stomach acid production and allow the esophagus to heal from damage caused by GERD. Doctors may also recommend surgery for severe cases where medications are not successful in treating symptoms.
It is important not to ignore persistent symptoms of GERD and seek medical attention for a more thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
Seek medical attention if you experience severe pain
If you experience severe pain in your chest, throat, or abdomen after eating, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. This could be a sign of GERD or other serious conditions and should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible. Severe pain that occurs more than twice a week is generally considered chronic and should be addressed. Additionally, if you experience shortness of breath along with the severe pain, it is essential to seek medical attention right away.
GERD can be extremely uncomfortable and can cause issues such as difficulty swallowing food or drinks. If left untreated, this condition can even lead to complications like respiratory problems. Pay close attention to any sudden changes in the intensity of your symptoms and don’t hesitate to contact your doctor if necessary.
FAQs about: Treating Gerd At Home
Q: What is GERD?
A: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disorder that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, stomach content, flows back into your esophagus.
Q: What are some home remedies for GERD?
A: Some home remedies for GERD include avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals more frequently, staying upright after eating, avoiding late-night snacking, and sleeping with the head of the bed elevated.
Q: What lifestyle changes can I make to help treat GERD?
A: Lifestyle changes that may help to treat GERD include avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals more frequently, staying upright after eating, avoiding late-night snacking, and sleeping with the head of the bed elevated. These changes should be discussed with your doctor.