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The Best Ways to Treat Acid Reflux

The Best Ways to Treat Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is one of the most common disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract and affects approximately 20% of the US population. It occurs when acidic juices from your stomach back up into your esophagus and irritate the lining.

Most people want to know the best ways to treat it – both at home and with help from a doctor.

Lifestyle Modifications

Changing daily lifestyle behaviors can help prevent acid reflux from happening.

Lifestyle modifications that are helpful to get rid of acid reflux include:

  • Avoiding certain foods and beverages like:
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Spicy food
    • Fatty food
    • Peppermint
    • Citrus and other acidic foods
  • Avoiding laying down within 2-3 hours after eating
  • Sleeping with your head elevated to about 30 degrees
  • Avoiding wearing tight-fitting clothing

Smoking also triggers acid reflux, and quitting smoking is beneficial.

Natural Remedies

Consuming certain liquids may be helpful in soothing the lining of the esophagus. These liquids include camomile tea, coconut water, and skim milk. In addition, there are some foods that can be beneficial in preventing acid reflux.

Foods that may be helpful include:

  • Vegetables and non-citrus fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Ginger


If lifestyle modifications are difficult to comply with or do not work, then medication management is a good option. Common medications often used are proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers. Some antacids can be used for immediate relief of mild acid reflux symptoms and can often be purchased over the counter.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

A common proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is omeprazole which is often the first medication prescribed in treating acid reflux. PPIs are often taken 30 to 60 minutes before eating. These medications work by preventing the cells of the stomach from secreting acid. By minimizing the acid content, PPIs help manage acid reflux.


H2-blocker medications, such as famotidine, also reduce acid secretion, but through a different mechanism of action. H2-blockers attach to the receptors on the stomach cells, interrupting the normal acid-secreting process.

Over-the-counter antacids

Antacids like calcium carbonate (like TUMS) can be used for fast-acting relief when acid reflux occurs. Antacids are available over the counter. This class of medications is best for those who experience infrequent and mild symptoms of acid reflux.


There are situations where despite medical management, the acid reflux still persists. In these situations, surgery may be the best option. Surgeries like a Nissen fundoplication can be performed to help tighten the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus so that acid content cannot easily reflux back up into the esophagus.

While acid reflux is common to experience, it’s important to see a doctor if you have heartburn more than twice weekly and do not respond well to over-the-counter medications. Chronic acid reflux can lead to esophageal cancer in the future.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to treat chronic acid reflux.

Don’t suffer from chronic acid reflux any longer – schedule an appointment today!

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