Home remedies for heartburn

Home remedies for heartburn can be very effective.

Heartburn describes a painful burning sensation or hot sensation in the chest region that occurs often and at any age.
Causes of heartburn

The food we ingest passes from the mouth through the esophagus (esophagus) into the stomach.

Before it enters the stomach, it must pass through a tight muscle at the lower end of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (lower esophageal sphincter, UÖS).

This sphincter prevents the food from flowing back into the esophagus.
Once the food has arrived in the stomach, it is digested by the stomach acid.

Gastric acid is extremely aggressive, but a special mucosal layer protects the stomach from the acid.
The esophagus, on the other hand, does not have such special protection; if the sphincter does not close completely, the lower part of the esophagus may suffer damage from reflux from the stomach.

In this case, heartburn may make itself felt.
There are various reasons why the lower esophageal sphincter does not completely close the stomach and thus a reflux of gastric acid can take place:

  • Certain foods and beverages, including: chocolate, peppermint, caffeinated beverages (such as coffee and tea), fatty foods and alcoholic beverages such as beer.
  • Heartburn depends on the position of the body. Gastric acid flows more easily back into the esophagus when lying on your back or on your right side or when the upper body is bent forward. Anything that increases the pressure in the abdomen pushes stomach acid into the esophagus and can cause stomach burning and back pain in the upper back region.
    Lifting loads, exertion, coughing, tight clothing, obesity and pregnancy can increase heartburn.
  • Certain conditions increase the risk of heartburn, including: diaphragmatic hernia (hiatal hernia), diabetesstomach ulcer, gastric atony (gastroparesis) and numerous autoimmune diseases (CREST syndrome, Raynaud’s phenomenon and scleroderma).
  • Many prescription drugs can interfere with the activities of the lower esophageal sphincter, including blood pressure medications, heart medications, and the asthma medication theophylline.
  • Many substances have a direct irritant effect on the inner wall of the esophagus and are triggers of heartburn; these include: chili, citrus fruits, fruit and fruit juice, tomatoes and tomato sauces, smoking, aspirin, ibuprofen (dolormin, nurofen, etc.) and active ingredients against osteoporosis.


Heartburn and worries

Worry and grief increase the production of stomach acid and adrenaline.
adrenaline relaxes the muscles of the stomach and intestines; the result: food and stomach acid lie undigested in the stomach and cause burning, bloating and possibly gastritis.
Some patients feel psychosomatic heartburn only in the early morning on an empty stomach, then it slowly subsides.

Heartburn and pain when walking

After eating, at least 3 hours should pass before starting running, otherwise you risk heartburn, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
This is a completely normal consequence, because the stomach needs a lot of blood for digestion; therefore, heavy and prolonged physical stress such as long jogging should be avoided.

Therapy for heartburn

Before analyzing medicines, medicinal herbs and nutrition, I would like to say a few words about osteopathy and manual therapy.
If there are no injuries (e.g. ulcers) or acute inflammation, the dysfunction of the stomach may be caused by nerves that mistakenly send a pain signal, or by muscle tension, adhesions or too tight ligaments that block stomach movement.

Perforated ulcer stomach

For good digestion, the stomach must be able to absorb the food and then transport it further into the duodenum with the help of smooth muscles.
If the muscles are tense or something blocks the movement of the stomach, no medication can help either; they would only alleviate the symptoms, but not fight the cause.

The stomach is closely connected to the diaphragm, so in osteopathic treatment, this important respiratory muscle must first be loosened before acting on the stomach.
Another important aspect of treatment is the release of the stomach-controlling nerves; these are the nerves originating at the level of the vertebrae Th6 – Th9 of the thoracic spine and the vagus nerve.
If the nerves are pressed by bones, muscles or ligaments, stomach discomfort may occur.

What drugs help with heartburn?

Since heartburn is caused by stomach acid, the simplest way to relieve pain is to neutralize the acid with an antacid.
Antacids such as buscopan usually contain a mixture of magnesium and aluminum salts, calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate.
Medications that contain a high amount of sodium may not be suitable for pregnant women or people who need to eat a low-sodium diet because of high blood pressure or heart disease, for example.

Antacids are available as lozenges or chewable tablets and in liquid form.
The dosage form is selected according to personal preference, liquid drugs usually show a faster, tablets a more lasting effect.

Antacids can reduce the absorption of other medications through the intestines, so it should be discussed with the pharmacist before buying antacids if other medicines are taken.

Some antacids contain sodium alginate.
Sodium alginate forms a physical barrier that floats like a “raft” on the stomach contents, thus preventing gastric acid reflux and protecting the esophagus from the acid.
Alginic acid-containing agents, such as Gaviscon, are particularly effective for heartburn caused by pressure on the stomach, e.g. during pregnancy.

H2-Antagonists are medicines such as cimetidine (e.g. Tagamet), ranitidine (e.g. Zantac), nizatidine and famotidine (e.g. Pepcid). All these stomach remedies are available at the pharmacy.
2antagonists block the histamine receptors in the stomach, thereby reducing the production of gastric acid.
These remedies may be unsuitable for kidney and liver disease.
2antagonists should be taken for a maximum of two weeks without a doctor’s recommendation.
Cimetidine has various interactions with other drugs, so it should always be discussed with the doctor whether it can be combined with other drugs.

Proton pump inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors suppress the formation of stomach acid.

These drugs help coordinate the activity of the smooth muscles of the digestive system.

Foods to avoid

There are several causes of heartburn.

Those who know the triggering factors can change their diet and lifestyle habits and prevent reflux in this way.

Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages
Caffeine causes the esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus.

Chocolate contains theobromine (an organic chemical compound found in many plants), which exerts a relaxing effect on the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Fried and fatty food
Fried and fatty foods delay digestion and the stomach pressure can increase due to the prolonged stay of the chyme in the stomach. Consequently, the pressure on a weakened sphincter muscle increases, which in turn leads to a reflux of the stomach contents.

Tomato tomatoes and tomato products relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

Alcohol Alcohol leads to a relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and stimulates acid formation in the stomach.

The chemical products contained in the cigarette enter the blood through the lungs and weaken the EES.

Fruit juice and citrus fruits These foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
One should not eat immediately before bedtime, but at least 2 to 3 hours before.
Lying flat with a full stomach increases the pressure of the stomach contents on the OES, which favors a possible reflux.
Bananas, on the other hand, have an anti-acid effect.

Sumptuous meals
A full stomach puts additional pressure on the esophagus, making it easier for some of the food to return to the esophagus.

Tight clothing
Tight clothing, which squeezes the abdomen, also presses on the stomach. Thus, the stomach contents are pushed against the sphincter and cause gastroesophageal reflux.
Problematic garments also include tight-fitting belts and underwear.

Herbs against heartburn

In Europe, it is customary to eat a bitter after a sumptuous meal. Milder bitter substances are contained in curly sorrel (Rumex crispus), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea) and barberry (Berberis vulgaris) and have a digestive and liver-strengthening effect.

These plants promote digestion and reduce the risk of heartburn by increasing the production of stomach acid and bile.
Other tips against heartburn:

  • eat smaller meals,
  • stay in a vertical position after eating, do not lie down,
  • Avoid eating at night.

Nocturnal heartburn Nocturnal heartburn
is usually caused by gastroesophageal reflux aggravated at night by the horizontal body position.
For a quieter night, you should not eat anything just before going to bed and put the headboard of the bed slightly higher so that the head is about 20-30 cm higher than the feet.

XJ Perforated Ulcer Stomach1

Heartburn in pregnancy

During pregnancy, all muscles become flabby due to hormonal changes, including the upper stomach muscles, which prevent stomach acid from entering the esophagus. Thus, the digestive juices can rise painfully and cause irritation and heartburn, which are common in pregnancy.

Another reason for stomach burning is that the uterus increasingly takes up space as it grows, pushing the stomach upwards.
Heartburn in pregnancy can occur in the first three months, but also towards the end, in the eighth or ninth, month.

Home remedies
There are several ways to relieve heartburn in pregnancy.

Avoid certain foods, such as spicy and very ripe foods, alcoholic beverages, caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea and Coca Cola – because of their relaxing effect on the sphincter), chocolate, peppermint, oranges and lemons.
A high-fat diet can promote heartburn during pregnancy.

Juice of aloe vera
The juice extracted from the aloe vera plant is a popular home remedy for heartburn. Aloe vera juice relieves heartburn and inflammation and promotes gastrointestinal health.
It is recommended to drink about 20 ml of juice about 10 minutes before the meal. However, one should not exaggerate, because it can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain.

One should eat 4-5 almonds after each meal and after each snack.
Organic almonds are most suitable.
This tasty dried fruit serves to neutralize the acidity of gastric juices, thus relieving and preventing heartburn.

Drink before and after meals, not during
When too much liquid is mixed with food, the stomach widens and intensifies stomach burning.
Meals should be kept small so as not to overstrain the digestive system.
Six small meals a day are preferable to three large ones, in this way the burning decreases.

Pain when drinking can arise if a lot of fluid is consumed in a short time, it makes more sense to drink a glass of water every now and then.

Take your time. Those who eat quickly usually swallow a lot of air, which can lead to the formation of gas bubbles in the abdomen.
When eating quickly, food is not carefully chewed, which increases the work for the stomach and complicates digestion.

It may sound strange, but heartburn can also be a sign of dehydration.
One should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to provide the body with sufficient water.
A tip: the water should not be drunk exclusively during meals, because a large amount of fluid can widen the stomach, put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and cause reflux.
Drinking water can be helpful with these symptoms during pregnancy.

What to eat?

Foods that can relieve the symptoms of heartburn are: cabbage, chamomile tea, carrots and licorice.

Another natural remedy is bicarbonate, which neutralizes stomach acid in the esophagus.

Many mothers believe that a few spoonfuls of skimmed yogurt after each meal or when heartburn appears relieve the burning sensation.
Some studies come to the conclusion that the probiotics in yogurt also have a neutralizing effect on stomach acid in the esophagus.

Many women swear by home remedies on the outside, such as:

  • ginger: fresh, boiled or in tablet form;
  • Fennel tea.

If none of these remedies work, one can console oneself with the fact that heartburn will not last forever.

In case of severe heartburn, chewing gum should be chewed after each meal. Research shows that chewing gum stimulates salivation, which reduces the amount of stomach acid contained in the esophagus and may prevent reflux disease.

A patient story

The most important rules for heartburn.

The rules below are very easy to follow. First of all, however, two basic things to relieve heartburn.
First: chew thoroughly!
This is an easy way to get rid of heartburn, because when large pieces of food arrive in the stomach, it must release more (alkaline and acidic) enzymes.
Second: drink little liquid during and after eating.
This is important because the fluid reduces the power of the enzymes and the body has to release more enzymes.

If these two principles are followed, one is already on the right track to avoid heartburn. If the rule of the right combination of foods is followed, the symptoms of heartburn are likely to disappear altogether.

The principle is not to combine foods rich in carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, cereals, rice) with protein foods (meat, dairy products, fish). This is fundamental, because these two groups need different enzymes to be digested.

When the body needs to release both enzymes together, they neutralize each other.
When this happens, the food stays longer in the mangen and the organism has to release large amounts of alkaline and acidic enzymes.
This is one of the main reasons for irritation of the stomach.
So no French fries should be eaten with a steak but rather salad.
Green lettuce is particularly suitable because it can be digested quickly due to its high water content.

Read more