Also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD is its abbreviation), it refers to the passage of gastric contents into the esophagus, from the stomach, due to an alteration in the natural “barriers” of the body. It is not always a disease but may appear when having bad eating habits. Learn how to cure gastric reflux in the following article.
Causes and symptoms of gastric reflux
One of the most important or recurring causes is the imbalance of the inner esophageal sphincter – a kind of ring around the esophagus at the site where it joins the stomach, which remains closed to prevent gastric juices “climb” up the esophagus . When it is altered, there is less pressure while resting, the muscle relaxes and does not fulfill its function.
Certain drugs or substances like alcohol, tobacco, caffeine favor the reflux, one of the most common digestive disorders (15% of the adult population suffers from it once a week and 7% daily).
Among the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease we can include:
- Heartburn: is best known and it involves the burning or a “fire” in the sternum region, which increases after eating more than moderately or when going to bed right after dinner.
- Regurgitation with sour taste in the mouth, chest pain or difficulty swallowing food or saliva.
- Respiratory disorders, especially at night: bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, etc.
- Other manifestations: abdominal pain, excessive burping, heaviness after meals, hiccups, nausea, pain in the larynx or pharynx, foreign body sensation in the throat and even loss of voice.
- In children, the main symptom is excessive regurgitation and respiratory problems. When it becomes chronic it can cause anemia, intermittent torticollis and delay in development.
Tips to avoid gastric reflux
- Avoid lying down immediately after meals, especially after dinner. Let about two hours or more pass after meals, depending on whether you ate moderately or you had a heavy meal.
- Raise the head of the bed about 15 cm with wooden dowels on the front legs, this way the body is not lying completely.
- Do not put more pillows to elevate your head at bedtime, because it only results in flexing the neck and what it needs to be lifted is the entire upper body.
- Do not wear too tight clothes when eating, better wear clothes and fabrics that are comfortable and not too tight.
- Do not prepare meals that are too abundant. It is preferable to prepare six small portions or two very large portions.
- Control obesity and overweight
- Eliminate alcohol and quit smoking
- Avoid foods or drinks that relax the esophageal sphincter, such as chocolates, sauces, stews, etc.
- Avoid exercise, sudden movements, bending down, lifting, etc. immediately after meals.
- Reduce stress as much as you can
- Eliminate from your diet foods that have irritating effect on the gastric mucosa and the esophageal sphincter interior, such as fat, garlic, tomato, fried foods, onion, salted foods, juices, tea, nuts, cola, soda, mint, citrus fruits.
- Minimize the consumption of sugars and processed foods, pay attention to the balance of gut and intestinal flora.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as skimmed milk and yogurt.
Natural remedies to treat gastric reflux
- Apple cider vinegar: before meals, eat a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar dissolved in a glass of cold water. This will help in digestion and also as a quick treatment for gastric reflux.
- Baking soda: drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of baking soda, while it is effervescent.
- Aloe vera juice: it is very effective for stomach aches and inflammation of the digestive tract. Take a stalk of aloe vera, remove the pulp and mix it with a little water. Drink once a day to relieve symptoms of burning or fire in the mouth of the stomach.
- Licorice: this herb protects the digestive tract and helps eliminate gastric reflux. Make an infusion with a handful of dried plant per liter of water. Cover with a lid and then strain it. Drink a cup of this infusion after meals. You can also get the mother tinctures of this herb.
- Almond milk: can be consumed before or after eating, or when symptoms of reflux or heartburn begin. Put 100 grams of almonds and a liter of water in a blender. Mix well and strain. You can mix again this composition with half of liter of water and other 50 grams. Sweeten with honey, stevia or cinnamon.
- Foods with natural fermenting agents: such as milk or water kefir, a sip of liquid from pickles or a spoonful of sauerkraut. This will quickly relieve the signs of gastric reflux.
- Clove and cardamom: You can eat them like they were candies after meals or make a tea with both of them. They will help reduce the levels of acidity in the stomach and the reflux symptoms.
- Cabbage: prepare a cabbage juice every day (a few leaves with a little bit of water in the blender) to treat or prevent gastric reflux.
- Cumin: boil a cup of water with a few seeds of cumin and drink during the meals.
- Ginger: ginger extract is very good for improving the discomfort produced by gastric reflux. You can also make a tea with a very small slice of ginger in a cup of boiling water.