You are often faced with an agonizing burning sensation in your stomach, usually following a heavy, spicy and oily meal, which spreads to the chest and throat leaving you in considerable discomfort. This is hyperacidity or acid reflux and there are thousands who suffer from it in chronic or periodic form. A weak digestive system is the principal cause of acid reflux which is also brought about by over secretion of gastro-intestinal acids due to hectic lifestyles, careless dietary habits and uncontrolled stress.

However, there are various effective treatments for acid reflux, both allopathic and herbal which work according to the patient’s bodyweight, food habits, lifestyle and gastro-intestinal conditions. These are as follows:

• Your neighborhood pharmacist can provide you with a host of aluminum hydroxide –based allopathic antacids, either in liquid or tablet form. The other ingredients of these antacids are usually mild anesthetics to reduce heartburn and gastric irritation. It’s basically a simple chemical reaction at play: Aluminum Hydroxide, being a base by chemical nature mixes with the excess acid and produces water and salt, resulting in a reaction of neutralization in chemistry parlance. However, do remember that the aluminum hydroxide powder contained in allopathic antacids deposits on the kidneys if taken excessively and may lead to chronic renal failure later on.

• Gastroenterology having become a super-specialization now has opened avenues for new drugs to treat acid reflux. Your physician will advise you to take some state-of-the-art drugs like Domperidone, Pantoprazole and Lanzoprazole before meals to prevent acid formation beforehand. Histamine Receptor Antagonists like Pantoprazole-Domperidone combinations, if taken, help break food faster and aids digestion.

• You can even try natural laxatives as an effective treatment for acid reflux. Since acidity is mostly caused by undigested food, keep your bowels clear everyday. A natural laxative is flea seed husk also called Isabgol, which forms ample roughage in the digestive system and helps eject wasted food particles from the stomach.

• In spite of all drugs, allopathic or natural available, do remember that it is your diet that is largely responsible for your acidic condition. So avoid spicy and oily food, particularly deep fries at any cost. Increase consumption of water and fiber-rich foods to the maximum extent possible as also herbal teas in between meals because of their rich anti-oxidant properties.

• Try chewing crushed garlic and ginger as these also work fast in reducing acidity. Fruits like papaya have ample enzyme content, is taken regularly also aids acid reflux by increasing digestion.

• Drink a glass of warm water mixed with a pinch of camphor after every meal.

• As a patient of acid reflux, try and refrain from excessive smoking and alcohol consumption. Moreover, certain beverages like coffee, tea or fruit juices should be eliminated from your diet as their caffeine and tannin contents, respectively, irritate the gastric tract and lead to hyperacidity.

• Also rushing through your meals is strictly a non-no. Take your time to chew your food thoroughly and even try to take a pre or post meal walk regularly to digest your meal as much as possible.

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