Heartburn can be really unpleasant and experiencing it regularly can really put a dampener on your life.
We don't want to see you suffer, so we've compiled a list of remarkably easy way to get quick heartburn relief that are completely natural.
Ready to start feeling yourself again? Then let's get started!
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in September 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2018.
What is heartburn?
It's much easier to understand why certain things cause and remedy heartburn when you know how it works.
Here's a quick biology lesson:
The contents of the stomach is acidic, to help break down and digest food. To prevent acid rising back up into the throat, there's something called the lower oesophagal sphincter muscle (a sort of valve), at the base of the oesophagus (the pipe that carries food from the mouth to the stomach).
Acid reflux, and the resulting heartburn occurs when the lower oesophagus sphincter muscle doesn't close completely and acid enters the oesophagus.
Lifestyle changes to make
If heartburn is getting in the way of your life, it's time to act! There are lots of small changes you can make to your lifestyle that will help with acid reflux and make heartburn less likely.
1. Elevate your head
Anything that will make acid reflux more difficult will also reduce heartburn symptoms.
Elevating the head when lying down will mean acid has a harder job of leaking up into the oesophagus, increasing the likelihood of a peaceful night's sleep.
2. Wear loose clothing
Even the slightest bit of pressure on the stomach increases the risk of acid reflux.
Tight clothing, including shapewear and also belts, may force acid up into the oesophagus and give you those painful heartburn symptoms we're trying to help you avoid.
Keep clothing loose and comfortable and your heartburn will thank you for it.
3. Change sleeping position
Do you sleep on your side?
Studies have found that those that sleep on their right side experience more painful heartburn at night, as opposed to those who sleep on their left.
It's thought lying on the right side is more likely to relax the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle, making acid reflux more likely.
4. Stand up straight
The straighter you can stand, the better.
This not only benefits your back but will also reduce the amount of pressure on the low oesophagal sphincter, making it less likely to loosen and allow stomach acid to escape.
5. Elevate the upper body
If you can't stand up completely when watching a gripping tv show or napping the afternoon away, try elevating your upper body.
This can easily be done by placing a pillow under your back or, if you have the option, adjusting the angle of your sofa back/bed.
6. Don't eat before bed
We've already seen how eating certain foods and overindulging can cause heartburn.
These are more likely to trigger acid reflux and resultant heartburn when you're lying down and the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle relaxes. For this reason, it's best to avoid eating right before bed.
If you can, have dinner at least two hours before bedtime to give your stomach enough time to digest everything.
7. Lose weight
Just as belts and tight clothing can put pressure on your stomach, so can excess fat.
Heartburn sufferers should keep an eye on their weight and do and BMI test to see if they're within the recommended guidelines.
If you're looking for some easy ways to lose weight, be sure to read our blog post of ideas.
8. Stop smoking
We all know smoking is bad for our health, but did you know it can make heartburn worse too? Nicotine is a relaxant which is thought to cause the lower sphincter muscle to loosen.
If you're a smoker who suffers from heartburn regularly and have tried everything to get rid of it, quitting could be the final piece of the puzzle.
There are loads of over the counter medicines you can get to treat heartburn, such as Rennie, the UK's best-selling heartburn and indigestion tablet.
Usually, medications work to neutralise stomach acid and relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
NOTE: Always check the dosage instructions carefully before taking any form of medication, and if in doubt, consult your GP first.
10. Drink less alcohol
Similarly to cigarettes, alcohol will also encourage your muscles to relax, including that all-important oesophagal sphincter muscle.
Limit your alcohol intake as a whole, and if you feel heartburn coming on, avoid it entirely.
Home remedies for heartburn
As usual, we have some fantastic home remedies to share with you today. Expert Home Tips always recommend trying natural cures first, and some of the simple remedies below could really do wonders for your heartburn.
1. Bicarbonate of soda & water
If you've read our uses for bicarbonate of soda, you'll already know it's handy for so much more than baking alone.
Today we're sharing another way to use this budget miracle product with you - combined with water to treat heartburn.
Bicarbonate of soda is a natural antacid and will neutralise the acidity of the stomach, reducing heartburn symptoms to provide you quick relief.
TRY IT: Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda into a glass of water and drink slowly.
We've all heard of the wonders of ginger tea.
Whilst ginger can't prevent heartburn, it can dramatically help to ease symptoms.
There are many health benefits of ginger, but its anti-inflammatory properties are what's particularly beneficial for heartburn sufferers. When acid reflux occurs, the oesophagus can become damaged and inflamed. Ginger can help to soothe swelling and ease pain to provide relief.
Another of the most popular natural acid reflux treatments is deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL).
How does it work? Well, liquorice has been seen to increase mucus production, which helps to line the oesophagus and stomach to protect it from acid.
4. Apple cider vinegar
If you've read our post about the many beauty benefits of apple cider vinegar, you'll already know why it's an essential item to have in the home.
Among apple cider vinegar's many uses is its ability to neutralise stomach acid and reduce heartburn symptoms.
Drink it diluted in a glass of water, and add honey if you find it too sour. Sip through a straw if possible to prevent damage to the teeth.
Additional tips & tricks
5. Chew gum
Although it causes a lot of problems for our pavements, dispose of it properly and there are many beneficial reasons for chewing gum.
Not only can gum be good for dental health and act as an appetite suppressant, but it can also provide heartburn relief.
When we chew, saliva production increases which will in turn help flush acid out of the oesophagus and decrease the acidity of the stomach.
Be sure to find out how to get chewing gum out of hair in case of any mishaps!
Hopefully our tips will help you get rid of your heartburn for good. What's your favourite home remedy for heatburn? Let us know in the comments below!
Eating a blob of toothpaste, that has stopped it many times for me.
That's interesting, Sandy!
Hi Joanne from another Sandy and a question for the first Sandy. Does toothpaste work with any make or type? For instance, what about sensitive or whitening, etc.? I'd be most interested to know what kind of blob you use!
Normal Colgate take two pieces about an one inch long and swallow straight down.
Is that safe, Babs?
Excellent article but In mentioning medication, I'm surprised that you don't feature drugs that actually STOP acid secretion, rather than just neutralising it. There are two different ones that you can buy in branches of all large UK supermarkets (or from pharmacies with or without a prescription). Zantac has been around since the seventies - a member of a family called "H2 antagonists". It is very effective but only lasts for a few hours whereas the other drug "Nexium" (from the group known as proton pump inhibitors) can last over 18 hours, though is a lot more expensive over the counter than is Zantac. Neither drug works instantly as they don't neutralise acid the way that "white" medicines, like Rennie, do. But when they do kick in, the comfort is bliss! All other drugs in these two families are only available on prescription but making these two available in a local supermarket has been revolutionary. (I write as an old doctor and chronic heartburn sufferer!)
Thanks for sharing, William!
Peppermint cordial in warm water works especially if it’s kettle water. Good for trapped wind which can cause heartburn.
Thanks for sharing!
Eating 3 or 4 almonds works very quickly as I don’t like taking meds. I have a hiatus hernia. There are nasty things in toothpaste too so I wouldn’t ever swallow that.
Thanks for sharing your method, Valerie!
Vouch for the toothpaste. Works pretty much instantly every time for me, although a little disappointed as I thought I had made the discovery haha!
That's great to hear!
I always keep bottles of soda water in the house, a glassful relieves heartburn every time. It’s pretty much the same as making up a solution of bicarbonate and water but tastier and less fiddly.
That's a great idea!
Excellent tips, I never knew toothpaste could be used for heartburn. I will try this next time I have it, along with some of the other very useful tips. Thank you.
You're welcome, Pauline!
I eat about half an apple to get rid of the discomfort. It works for me.
Thanks for sharing!
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