Home Remedies for Indigestion: What Works (and What Doesn’t)
Do you sometimes experience discomfort, pain, or bloating after meals? Perhaps it is accompanied by a burning sensation in your chest or an upset stomach. These could be symptoms of indigestion.
Indigestion occurs when you experience difficulty in digesting food and have an uncomfortable feeling of fullness after a meal.
When people talk about indigestion, they may be suffering from:
- Mild to severe pain in the upper abdomen
- Belching and gas
- An acidic taste in the mouth
- Occasional diarrhea or vomiting
If you have indigestion, you may also encounter symptoms of heartburn, a painful, burning discomfort in the middle of your chest. Heartburn is caused when stomach acid flows up the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food and liquid from the throat to the stomach.
When stomach acid regularly flows back up into your esophagus, it is a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Your doctor must treat your GERD to prevent complications such as ulcerations, scarring, or a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
Home Remedies for Indigestion: What Works
Occasional indigestion is common and typically not a cause for concern. Some home remedies that can be used to soothe occasional bouts include:
- Drinking a cup of chamomile or ginger tea
- Drinking peppermint tea if your indigestion is not related to acid reflux
- Drinking 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 4 ounces of warm water
Remember that when trying these remedies, it is essential to pay attention to how you feel. If your indigestion does not improve or worsens, contact your doctor to discuss other options.
Depending on the cause of your indigestion, your doctor may recommend taking an over-the-counter medication for occasional or temporary relief. Some options might include antacids or acid blockers such as:
- Pepcid AC
- Prilosec OTC
Many times, simple lifestyle changes can help you prevent indigestion in the first place. These include:
- Eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly
- Avoiding late-night meals
- Avoiding caffeinated beverages, soda, alcohol, or spicy foods
Home Remedies for Indigestion: What Doesn’t Work
There are several home remedies for indigestion you may have heard that often do not work or can make the problem worse.
For example, if acid reflux is causing indigestion and heartburn, peppermint tea can worsen it. Peppermint is known to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing even more acid to flow back into the esophagus.
Drinking milk is another recommendation that doesn’t work. Milk can cause the stomach to produce more acid, worsening symptoms. Lactose intolerance is common and can lead to indigestion as well.
When to See A Doctor For Indigestion
While some home remedies can offer temporary relief, it’s essential to consult your doctor if you experience recurrent indigestion. They can help you get the correct diagnosis, recommend effective treatments, and monitor potential complications.
Managing indigestion exclusively with home remedies can lead to:
- Missed diagnosis. Acid reflux symptoms can resemble other, more serious medical conditions such as heart problems or stomach ulcers.
- A chronic or worsening condition. If you have untreated GERD, you risk developing complications such as esophageal inflammation, Barrett’s esophagus, or even esophageal cancer.
- Dietary or lifestyle missteps. You might unknowingly continue patterns that make your condition worse.
Additionally, it’s important to promptly address symptoms like trouble swallowing, feeling breathless, and tightness in the chest because they can occasionally be due to more serious conditions related to the heart.
Are you suffering from indigestion regularly? Don’t live with the discomfort any longer – Schedule your appointment today.