When it comes to home remedies for GERD, you can indeed find several options.
The critical thing to remember is that not everyone reacts the same way to treatments based on acid-suppressing medications or natural remedies.
In addition, the drug you are taking to treat GERD can be the culprit behind many side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, and other undesirable effects.
Here at Remedies Insider, we like to use home remedies first before resorting to medication.
In today's post, we have made a list of home remedies for GERD that you can try in your home without using any medicine or drugs.
GERD affects over 20 million people in the United States alone, and experts believe that many more have it but are not aware they have it because they have not had a doctor diagnose it.
What is GERD
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux is a stomach condition that can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including heartburn, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.
But the problem is prevalent – it's the second most common diagnosis among people of all ages after colds.
Other common reflux names for GERD are heartburn, acid reflux, and acid indigestion.
Whatever you call it, the symptoms are unpleasant, making daily activities difficult.
Most GERD treatments use medications to help lower stomach acid production or improve digestive acid production to neutralize stomach acid.
But home remedies can be an effective treatment for GERD, and they don't cost anything.
1. Control your weight
Being overweight can trigger GERD symptoms.
That's because you're putting extra weight on your abdomen, which puts pressure on the acid in your stomach.
This action causes digestive juices – including stomach acid – to escape when they shouldn't, and you get acid reflux.
That means the acid is creeping back up into your esophagus, making it go into spasms and causing a burning sensation.
Thankfully, losing even a few pounds can make a difference.
Once you've reached your target weight, be sure to maintain a healthy exercise routine, which will help to prevent putting on more weight.
2. Reduce your stress level
Stress can be a significant factor in your digestive health – especially if you eat when you're stressed.
For example, if you're anxious or worried when you eat, it can cause stomach acid production to increase.
This is because your body has too many stress hormones raging inside.
Your body naturally deals with what is stressing you out physically.
But when you're stressed, your body can't tell the difference between physical and emotional stress.
So it can become a runaway train, increasing the production of stomach acid and other digestive juices.
You want to try some method of relaxation therapy when you're feeling stressed because you want the body's stress hormone effect without the excess hormones produced by stress.
Yoga, tai chi, meditation, and relaxation therapy are effective ways to help reduce stress. Plus, don't forget about exercise.
It works great for taking away the stress.
3. Avoid eating too much or too late at night
Eating too late at night can trigger acid reflux symptoms since your metabolism slows down.
In addition, your body isn't quite as effective at processing food correctly at night after falling asleep.
Plus, eating too close to bedtime can cause heartburn because food sits in your stomach for too long and becomes acidic, forcing it back up.
Another thing to try is eating smaller meals instead of three large meals throughout the day.
We all like to take a good nap but try waiting until at least two to three hours after you've eaten.
Time will help and give your digestive system time to reabsorb the acid back in the stomach where it belongs.
4. Stop the smoking
If you do smoke, stop! I know it's hard. I quit seven years ago, but you can do it if you really want to stop.
GERD often occurs along with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Smoking is a considerable risk factor.
Smoking weakens the esophageal sphincter muscle, leading to a hiatal hernia and acid reflux.
It also causes an increase in acid production in the stomach, making it easier for acid to penetrate esophagus tissue.
So if you are suffering from GERD, now is a good time to quit. Trust me.
It's not as bad as you think it will be, and you will feel so much better.
5. Avoid certain foods and drinks
You knew I was going to mention foods and drinks.
This one applies no matter what your weight is, so listen up.
Certain foods and beverages can trigger acid reflux symptoms, not just spicy or acidic foods to fatty or fried foods.
Try to avoid eating and drinking the following:
- Citrus fruits
- Fried foods
- Hot peppers
- Carbonated drinks
- High-fat foods
When you limit eating these foods or drinks, you lower the risk of developing GERD, but remember that everyone reacts differently to foods and beverages.
So just because something might trigger your symptoms for someone else doesn't mean it will do the same for you.
So pay attention to how your body reacts to different foods and drinks, and you will be able to avoid those that cause your symptoms.
6. Eating the right foods
There is no magic food that will cure all your symptoms overnight, but eating the right foods can help alleviate your symptoms.
You want to stay away from the trigger foods already mentioned, but you also want to eat a fiber-rich diet.
Eating a low carbohydrate diet can also help since a high carbohydrate diet causes acid to build up in your stomach and cause acid reflux symptoms.
There are a lot of other foods you should eat more of to help alleviate and soothe your GERD symptoms, including fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, beans, and whole grains.
Water is also a good choice since it keeps the body hydrated and helps food move through a slow digestive system.
So remember, low fat and high protein are what you want to focus on when choosing foods.
7. Loosen up your clothes
Your clothes can play a role in keeping stomach acid where it belongs – in your stomach.
For example, tight clothing or belts that press against your stomach can cause reflux.
So loosen your belts and refrain from wearing tight clothing that squeezes your stomach.
Give your tummy a break and loosen up a bit, lol.
8. Raise your head (Elevate)
You can ease the pressure on your stomach by raising your head while you sleep.
You can do this with an inclined bed or a pillow that keeps your head elevated.
Sleeping with your head elevated also helps prevent heartburn at night because gravity helps keep acid in your stomach.
So try elevating your head at night.
9. Give some herbal remedies a try
Ginger and aloe vera are two common herbal remedies used to treat GERD.
In addition, here is a small list of other herbs for GERD that can help.
- Slippery elm – benefits of slippery elm include lowering stomach acid production, reducing inflammation in the stomach, and improving digestion.
- Chamomile – This herb has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. Drink this tea or use it to make a compress for relief from GERD symptoms.
- Marshmallow root – Using marshmallow root as a food flavoring and medicinal herb to battle GERD. European herbal tradition has been using this for centuries, starting in Greece.
- Licorice root– is best known for its sweet flavor as a flavoring agent in teas and candies, but this herb has also been used as a medicinal herb for centuries to treat GERD and heartburn.
To Sum it Up
Home remedies will help alleviate GERD symptoms, but they may not provide a complete or long-term solution.
Long-term GERD can lead to digestive problems and stomach problems and can also result in tissue damage, ulcers, and even cancer.
So while these home remedies might make your life easier while seeking treatment with your doctor, they may not ultimately be a cure.
If you're suffering from GERD or heartburn regularly, it's a good idea to see a doctor who will be able to diagnose your condition and help you find the proper treatment for you.