HeartburnIf you have Acid Reflux, then you need to know about natural remedies!

You not only NEED to know, you DESERVE to know. Have you already heard about simple lifestyle adjustments like raising the head of your bed to decrease the backflow of stomach fluids? And has anyone told you the timing of your meals has an impact? (By not eating 3-4 hours before bedtime, you can lessen the amount of freshly secreted pepsin, bile and acid in your stomach, which means less fluid is available to flow backwards when lying down.) The hydrochloric acid in your stomach is highly corrosive. In fact, its corrosive properties have been proven strong enough to strip the paint from your car! Just imagine what this stuff can do to your esophagus, throat and vocal cords. Acid reflux disease is a common problem from which 15 million Americans suffer, and its symptoms include heartburn. About 12 percent of acid reflux patients have Barrett's Esophagus, a condition which greatly increases the risk of esophageal cancer. And yet, for some folks the trouble manifests "silently" without indigestion — this is known as "silent reflux" whose telltale signs are hoarseness, coughing or a burning sore throat. Singers, teachers, salespeople and other voice-using professionals have reasons to be concerned about changes of vocal quality. If you've ever been awakened by coughing with an acid taste in your mouth, or a puddle of fluid sloshing around in your throat, you have experienced nighttime acid reflux.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: there are many natural methods of getting relief from reflux and heartburn. And there are many online resources offering help. Thank you for your preference in selecting this website to visit! Take time to research all of your options in addition to whatever specific treatment, therapy or medications that your doctor may have prescribed. Beware of antacids that contain aluminum, an element which is harmful to human health when ingested in excessive quantities. Always read the ingredients. Some antacids without aluminum are familiar "household" names: Rolaids, Tums, Milk of Magnesia and Alka-Seltzer. A step up from these, in terms of strength, are the H2 blockers: Pepcid, Zantac, Tagamet, etc. And among the most powerful drugs prescribed for reflux are Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium ("proton-pump inhibitors") known to be highly effective, but NOT recommended for continuous, long-term use, although many folks become dependent on them for years! For many reasons, it is in your best interest to consider alternative remedies. Remember: exceptional patients are those who overcome debilitating conditions by keeping an open mind and a positive attitude in spite of the circumstances. Exceptional patients are fully involved in their own care. Exceptional patients are not passive spectators but rather active participants in the process of attaining optimum health.

NighttimeHow is the quality of your sleep?
Elevating the head of your bed is the first step towards alleviating reflux.

To get started, here are some tips on raising your bed. You'll need to raise the head 6 to 8 inches. If lower than 6 inches, then the results will not be as effective. The cheapest way to do this is by using cinderblocks which you can buy at Home Depot for $1 apiece. Cinderblocks are certainly the ultimate low-cost solution, but they are heavy, clumsy and need to be re-set whenever you move your bed. They can mar your floor or carpet. Therefore, consider a set of bed risers for under $14. A good set of bed risers is wooden or made of sturdy plastic, with recessed cups on top to "cradle" Click for details on bed risersbedposts, wheels or casters securely in place. Bed risers slide nicely along a smooth floor when the bed is moved. As a result of elevating your bed, the natural forces of gravity will hinder stomach acid from flowing "uphill" in your sleep. If reflux does occur, the refluxed fluids are less likely to reach the upper esophagus, pharynx and larynx. Professional singers have been known to travel with portable plastic bed risers enabling them to elevate their beds when staying in hotels. For anyone who suffers from nighttime reflux, elevating your bed is a MUST. It especially helpful in cases where reflux problems co-exist with sleep apnea. In recent years, the debate has been underway with respect to the these two conditions: does acid reflux cause sleep apnea, or does sleep apnea lead to acid reflux? The "double whammy" of acid reflux and sleep apnea is unfortunately a reality for many people and shows the importance of proper nighttime care. Elevating your bed is low-cost, is easy to do, and is completely safe. An added benefit, in many cases, is the lessening of snoring.

Click for details on reflux pillowsPROPPING YOURSELF UP with ordinary pillows is generally NOT recommended, as this can actually result in aggravation of the reflux.
You can, however, try a "wedge pillow" that rests on top of your mattress. Click here to see details. The advantages are significant: the "wedge" approach does not disturb your spouse or partner, who can sleep next to you on a level surface; it lets your headboard remain in a fully upright position, so your bed still looks otherwise normal; and it prevents bed frames from loosening or bending. Wedge pillows can generally be placed underneath or on top of the fitted sheet. The same patented model from an American manufacturer, perhaps the best overall wedge pillow on the market, folds up neatly into its own zippered carrying case, comes complete with allergen barrier cover, and costs $89.95. Slanted wedge pillows are proven to be effective for heartburn, acid reflux and silent reflux sufferers. (Advertisement)

Another possible solution is an inflatable mattress lifter placed in between the mattress and box spring. To find out whether a reflux pillow or mattress lifter can be reimbursed by your health insurance, call your health insurance carrier (or Medicare or the Veterans Administration if you receive benefits) and offer to forward them a "letter of necessity" from your doctor.

Now, turn the page to read about the benefits of adjusting your mealtimes and avoiding "trigger" foods...
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