This digestive disorder is increasingly becoming more common. It’s characterized by burning and discomfort in both the stomach and esophagus. The symptoms almost always appear after eating or drinking.
You may be suffering gastric reflux and not even know it. In this article, you’ll learn more about its characteristics and some natural remedies.
What does it mean to have gastric reflux?
To understand what this digestive problem entails, let’s analyze the words that make up its name.
“Reflux” means return. When the body is healthy, the digestion process begins after eating and is carried out by the action of muscles and acids. During this time, the entrance to the stomach is closed to keep these irritating fluids from entering the esophagus where they don’t belong.
But when you have gastric reflux, this doesn’t happen. The entrance to the stomach doesn’t stay closed, allowing gastric juices to pass into the esophagus along with food.
To give you an idea, think of vomiting. It leaves an acidic taste and burning sensation in the throat and mouth. This occurs because the food has come up with stomach fluids.
Back to the subject of reflux, if a person suffers from reflux several times a week or month, they’re said to have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
See also: Tips for Reducing Acid Reflux
What causes GERD?
The causes of this problem that appears after eating (either a little or a lot) are:
- A hiatal hernia pressing on the upper stomach which weakens the esophageal sphincter (entrance) allowing gastric acid to come up.
- Taking certain medications like aspirin, anticholinergics, blockers for high blood pressure, bronchodilators or dopamine. Each one of these has a different effect on the stomach and esophagus.
- Bad eating habits like eating a lot or at odd hours, eating spicy or irritating foods, eating a diet based on processed or fast food.
- Pregnancy. Many women suffer from this problem only during pregnancy because the growing baby presses on the stomach causing the esophageal sphincter to open more easily. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on this because the dysfunction can continue after delivery.
- Being overweight. It’s similar to what occurs during pregnancy. Ingested foods and abdominal fat cause more pressure than normal, making food go up the esophagus.
- Tension and stress, as well as anxiety, financial problems, pressure or nerves. All this can leave the stomach tense, irregular and upset.
The most common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux are:
- A burning sensation or pain in the sternum (pyrosis).
- Regurgitation (food coming up into the mouth).
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Non-cardiac chest pain (confused with myocardial infarction).
- Feeling of heaviness after eating.
- Discomfort in the throat.
- Feeling like something’s stuck in your throat.
- Nocturnal cough.
- Internal hemorrhaging.
How can I treat gastroesophageal reflux naturally?
It’s really important to develop healthy eating habits. It’s important to quit consuming:
- Soft drinks
- Tomato sauce
- Animal fats (like those in sausages)
- Strong condiments
- Milk and other dairy products
You’ll also need to keep in mind that in order to reduce or prevent reflux disease it’s necessary to:
- Avoid physical activity after eating (it’s better to rest sitting down or go for a light walk).
- Avoid lying down immediately after eating.
- Avoid bending over after eating.
- Avoid eating quickly.
- Avoid carrying heavy items after lunch or dinner.
- Chew each bite well.
- Don’t talk while you eat.
- Don’t eat if you’re angry or upset.
- Don’t drink soft drinks or sugary juices with meals.
- Avoid smoking.
- Eat dinner early.
- Don’t wear belts or tight clothing over the stomach.
- Follow a healthy weight loss diet.
- Practice yoga and meditation.
Recommended foods for those with gastric reflux
You’re already familiar with the list of prohibited foods. Here are the ones you can eat:
- Fresh salads
- Natural juices
- Vegetable milks (rice, oat, almond, millet)
- Probiotics (yogurt or kefir)
- Herbal teas (comfrey root)
Natural remedies for GERD
You already know the good habits that you need to develop and the ones you need to quit. To find relief when experiencing a gastric reflux attack, try these:
Apple cider vinegar
Mix a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink before eating to calm the stomach and aid digestion. It’s also good after meals and works immediately.
It has a thousand and one different uses. It’s great for naturally treating stomach aches, gastritis and acid reflux. Dissolve a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink as quickly as possible (before it starts to bubble).
We recommend reading: Baking Soda: Big Pharma’s Nightmare
Aloe vera juice
How can you not have an aloe vera plant in your home? What are you waiting for? This is one of the best natural remedies for treating and curing a variety of ailments. It will really help with acid reflux.
Dilute the contents of one stalk of aloe vera in a ½ cup of water and drink when symptoms first start.