Almost everyone suffers from acid ingestion, also known as heartburn, at some point – a painful burning feeling in the chest or throat. In most cases, you can relieve symptoms with some simple remedies.
Step 1: Examine your triggers If you regularly suffer from mild indigestion, start taking note of which foods cause your problems, and eliminate them from your diet. Common culprits include coffee, citrus fruits, soft drinks, spicy food, and fried and other high-fat foods. Overeating in general, or eating too fast can also trigger indigestion.
TIP: Vigorous exercise before bed – especially exercises that crunch the abdomen – can sometimes trigger heartburn.
Step 2: Try antacid tablets If you sometimes suffer from acid indigestion after eating, take two over-the-counter antacid tablets with a glass of water. Repeat this step after each meal for the next two days.
Step 3: Try natural remedies Some foods naturally relieve acid indigestion, especially licorice. This root, available in chewable tablet form, stimulates the stomach's natural defenses against excessive acid production. A quarter-cup of aloe vera juice before a meal also helps combat indigestion.
TIP: Licorice can cause side effects. Buy DGL licorice, which is considered safer.
Step 4: Try an acid blocker If over-the-counter and natural antacids don't soothe your indigestion, try acid-blocking tablets. This over-the-counter medication blocks the stomach from producing excess acid. Take two tablets each morning for the next three days.
TIP: Acid blockers can take a day or two to provide relief. If your symptoms don't improve by the third day, seek medical attention.
Step 5: Treat nighttime indigestion If you feel a burning sensation in your throat or chest while sleeping, you're suffering from a condition known as heartburn. Before going to sleep, take three pillows and use them to prop up your head and neck.
Step 6: See a doctor Chronic acid indigestion or heartburn can indicate more serious conditions such as coronary disease, hernias, ulcers, stomach cancer, or cancer of the esophagus. If you suffer from frequent, repeated bouts of acid indigestion, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.
FACT: In Ancient Greece, China, and Egypt, licorice was used to treat gastritis, a painful irritation of the stomach.