Some individuals understand how painful it is to undergo a burning sensation at the center of the chest area, which is often linked to heartburn with one of the common symptoms, a sore throat.
About 28% of adults are experiencing GERD or gastroesophageal reflux diseases, which are a generic condition for heartburn. It occurs whenever acid pushes up right from the stomach right back into the esophagus, leading to the sensation of heartburn.(1)
However, people often use medications treating acid reflux linked diseases with several lifestyle changes that also aid in reducing symptoms and enhancing life’s quality.
Let us check out a few natural ways to minimize heartburn and sore throat lined with acid reflux backed by extensive scientific research.
Managing Acid Reflux and Sore Throat : A Guide to Lifestyle Changes and Medications
A couple of older studies have revealed that chewing gum can aid in reducing acidity in the esophagus area.(2) Gum comprises bicarbonate, appearing quite effective as it helps neutralize acid, preventing reflux.(3)
Chewing gum increases saliva production, which might help in clearing the acid in the esophagus area.(4) But, more updated research is required to determine whether chewing gum can help treat acid reflux or relieve the sensation of heartburn.
Always Sleep On Your Left Side
Numerous studies have found that sleeping on the right side might increase acid reflux symptoms at night. Based on a review, lying on the left side might reduce acid exposure in the esophagus by about 71%.(5) Although the main reason is not completely clear, it is explained through anatomy.
The esophagus enters the right side of your stomach. As a consequence, the lower sphincter of the esophagus is sitting right above the stomach acid levels whenever you are sleeping on the left side.
Alternatively, stomach acid covers the lower esophageal sphincter when lying on the right side, increasing the risk of reflux.(6) While sleeping on the left side all night might not always be possible since it helps make you more comfortable falling asleep.
Keeping Your Head At An Elevated Level Of The Bed
There are a few individuals experiencing reflux symptoms, especially at night, affecting the quality of sleep and making it tough to fall asleep. Changing the position in the way you sleep by elevating the head of the bed can help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux, helping your sleep better.(7)
A single review of the four studies has discovered that elevating the head of the bed has reduced acid reflux and enhanced symptoms such as regurgitation and heartburn in individuals with GERD.(8) The other study has shown that individuals using the wedge for elevating the upper body while sleeping will reduce the acid reflux effect compared to when they are sleeping flat.
Consuming Dinner Early
Healthcare professionals often advise people with acid reflux and sore throat to avoid eating just three hours before they go to sleep. Since they are lying horizontally after each meal, digestion is difficult, potentially worsening the GERD symptoms.
According to a review, eating late-night meals has increased acid exposure while lying down by 5% compared to eating early in the evening.
There is some other study that included around 817 people with type 2 diabetes who found that eating dinner late at night had got associated with a greater risk of acid reflux.(9) However, further studies are required to come to robust conclusions regarding the effect of late-evening meals on this condition.
Cook Onions Instead Of Eating Them Raw
Raw onions become the general trigger for heartburn and acid reflux. Ancient studies in people undergoing acid reflux have shown that consuming a meal consisting of raw onions has significantly increased heartburn, burping, and acid reflux compared to consuming an identical meal that lacked onions.
Several burping suggests that a greater amount of gas gets produced, which can be due to the higher amount of fermentable fiber in onion. Raw onions are highly tough to digest and start irritating the esophagus lining, worsening heartburn.(10) If you consider that consuming raw onions would worsen the symptoms, you should start avoiding them and choose the cooked ones, whatever the reason.
Eat Small Or More Frequent Meals
The lower esophageal sphincter is the ring-like muscle in which the esophagus opens right into the stomach. It would act as a value that normally prevents the contents that are acidic in the stomach from rising right to the esophagus. It is generally closer. However, it might open up as you belch, swallow or vomit.
In people suffering from acid reflux, the muscles weaken or become dysfunctional. Acid reflux starts when there is a lot of pressure on the muscle, causing this acid to squeeze through its opening. Luckily, the reflux symptoms take place after each meal. It might often appear that consuming just one or two larger meals daily would worsen acid reflux symptoms. Consequently, consuming smaller meals frequently throughout the day would reduce the acid reflux symptoms.(11)
Maintaining a Good Amount Of Weight
The diaphragm is the muscle that is located right above the stomach. Generally, it naturally strengthens the lower esophageal sphincter preventing any greater amounts of acid in the stomach from leaking right into the esophagus. But, the pressure in the abdomen area might become higher, lowering the esophageal sphincter, which gets pushed upward away from the support of the diaphragm if you have excessive belly fat.
The condition is considered a hiatal hernia, considered the major cause of GERD. Additionally, research has revealed that excessive belly fat is linked with a higher risk of acid reflux and GERD. For this reason, there are studies that are made for losing around 10% of the weight of your body which would most likely reduce the symptoms of GERD in people with such a condition.(12)
Maintaining and achieving this moderate body weight can help reduce acid reflux for long-term results. But, if you are keen on this approach, you should ensure speaking with your healthcare professional to assess whether it is good for you or how you can start losing weight sustainably and safely.
Following a Low-Carb Diet
There is huge evidence suggesting that low-carb diets will help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux. In reality, some researchers suspect that the undigested carbs might lead to greater pressure building within the abdomen and increased pressure contributing to acid reflux.
Too many undigested carbs in your digestive system would often not cause bloating, gas, or even burping. But, there are a couple of studies suggesting that a low-carb diet can enhance the symptoms of acid reflux; however, further research is required here.
Never Consume A Lot Of Coffee
It is noted through the studies that coffee brings temporary relief to the lower esophageal sphincter that increases the risk of acid reflux. There is a couple of evidence pointing towards caffeine as the possible cause. Identically coffee consists of caffeine that relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter leading to reflux.(13)
Although numerous studies suggest that caffeine and coffee might worsen acid reflux for a couple of people, there is evidence that would not entirely conclude it. For instance, there is one such analysis made for the observational studies that have found no distinctive effects of the intake of coffee on the symptoms of GERD reported.
Restricting the Intake Of Carbonated Beverages
Healthcare professionals advise people suffering from GERD conditions to limit their intake of carbonated beverages. Many studies have seen that regular consumption of fizzy or carbonated beverages like club soda or soft drinks are linked to a greater risk of refluxes.
One of the studies has found that carbonated soft drinks have worsened the symptoms of acid reflux, including fullness, heartburn, and burping. The primary reason is that carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages leads people to burp, which often increases the amount of acid that escapes from the esophagus.
Avoid Mint, If Required
Spearmint and peppermint have common ingredients used for preparing herbal tea with the addition of flavor to foods, chewing gum, candy, toothpaste, and mouthwash. But, they would even contain certain compounds triggering heartburn in a few people.
For example, some studies indicate that peppermint oil reduces lower esophageal sphincter pressure leading to heartburn.(14) Some other study has revealed that menthol, a common compound found in mint, would worsen acid reflux in people suffering from GERD.
For this reason, it is best to avoid mint, which you might feel would worsen your heartburn.
Limit high-fat foods
Fried and other fatty foods would act as a trigger for GERD. There is a couple of research showing that it would lead to heartburn. The following are the examples included here :(15)
- fried foods
- potato chips
Food rich in fat like these would contribute to heartburn that causes a lot of bile salt to be released into the digestive tract irritating the esophagus. These would appear to stimulate the release of cholecystokinin, a hormone in your blood stress relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter that allows the stomach’s content to travel back to the esophagus.
It is essential to note that fats form an integral part of the body’s healthier diet; instead of avoiding them, aim at consuming them in moderation from healthier sources like fatty fish, omega-3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats out of avocadoes or olive oil.
GERD would cause the stomach contents to move back up right onto the throat regularly, leading to unbearable burning symptoms. However, no specific diet prevents such a condition, while avoiding and eating specific foods would ease these symptoms for a couple of people. Individuals suffering from GERD would manage symptoms with lifestyle, dietary changes, and OTC medications.
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