Acid reflux disease, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition in which the fluid content of the stomach, which is mostly acidic in nature, moves back into the esophagus. The person suffering from acid reflux disease, experiences symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, chest discomfort and pain and in some extreme cases even diarrhea.
The commonly prescribed medicines for acid reflux disease include nexium, antacid, aciphex, protonix, reglan and zantac. Despite there being so many medicines to cure acid reflux, many people look for alternative medicines, as they involve negligible side effects if taken in proper doses. Here are the reasons for shifting to an alternative medicine.
There are basically two main reasons, because of which people prefer alternative medicines for acid reflux. Firstly, the effects of the medicines such as nexium and antacid are short term, as the chemicals used in the production of these medicines such as sodium bicarbonate, magnesium hydroxide, calcium carbonate and aluminum phosphate, neutralize the stomach's hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is very essential for digesting the food properly. Thus, when these chemicals reduce the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the body will then increase the production of body acids to replace the lost hydrochloric acid. This excess production is as a result of the medication the person has taken, in order to maintain the required acidic fluid content in the stomach. Thus, the quantity of stomach acids increases, thereby creating a situation of 'acid rebound' and this again contributes to acid reflux disease. The second reason for switching over to an alternative medicine is that these over the counter medicines are made up of very strong chemicals which release harmful toxins in the body, and thus, can prove very harmful for health in the long run.
Probiotics are medicines which are made from natural products. They contain friendly and helpful bacteria which aid in digestion. Probiotics, if taken under the supervision of a doctor, can treat acid reflux disease. Although, there are many health benefits of probiotics, still it should not be taken without consulting a doctor as probiotics are known to produce many harmful side effects in people, if taken in inappropriate quantities.
Herbs such as aloe vera, bladderwrack and marshmallow have been used to treat indigestion for a very long time. Aloe vera soothes the swelling in the esophagus, thereby reducing heartburn. Aloe vera juice, if taken before meals, can be highly effective. Another herb, known as licorice, has even proved beneficial in treating stomach ulcers besides treating acid reflux disease.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another commonly used medicine. Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted with water and then taken. To increase its effectiveness, consume it immediately after a meal.
Ginger, as an alternative medicine, can be consumed in the form of capsules, eaten fresh or in powdered form, and it can also be drunk as ginger tea. Ginger root is very beneficial for the stomach as it aids in digestion by absorbing the excess stomach acids. It also soothes the swelling in the esophageal wall, thereby reducing the heartburn caused due to acid reflux disease.
If a person suffering from GERD, consumes more of alkaline foods, then the acid-alkaline imbalance in the body, caused due to indigestion and the acid reflux disease, can be neutralized and maintained. So the diet should contain alkaline foods such as leeks, celery, spinach, asparagus, radish, artichokes, turnip, carrots, beetroot, cucumber, potatoes, broccoli, kale cabbage, Brussels sprouts, avocado, swede and courgette.
Besides these, there are certain dietary and lifestyle changes that should be incorporated to treat acid reflux disease. The person suffering from acid reflux disease, should maintain a healthy diet and refrain from overeating or eating foods which are oily, fatty or spicy. A typical GERD diet includes whole grains, fruits such as apples and bananas, vegetables such as carrots, green beans and broccoli, and yogurt, eggs and fish. The water intake should be increased, as water helps in dissolving the stomach acids and also helps in lubricating the digestive system. With the above mentioned alternative medicines and a little self care at home, acid reflux can be treated very easily and hopefully forever.