31.05.2021 – 17:46
Acid reflux or as it is commonly known “stomach heartburn” is a digestive condition where stomach acid leaks from the stomach back into the esophagus (the tract that connects the mouth to the stomach).
This return of acid can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn. Heartburn is a burning sensation that can occur anywhere from the middle of the abdomen to the throat.
Other symptoms of acid reflux may include:
- Bad breath
- pain in the chest or upper stomach
- nausea and vomiting
- difficulty or painful swallowing
- sensitive teeth
- breathing problems
- bad taste in the mouth
- an annoying cough
If symptoms remain persistent and worsen, then it may have progressed to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This means that acid reflux occurs at least twice a week, interferes with your daily life and has damaged the esophagus.
If you are diagnosed with GERD, follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your symptoms. If you suspect you have GERD, visit your doctor to avoid long-term complications.
Many pharmacies sell over-the-counter (OTC) acid reflux drugs such as Tums or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). But there is a cheap treatment you can already have at home: baking soda.
Baking soda is a popular method for treating digestive problems like heartburn, acid digestion and upset stomach, but it can only be used on an occasional basis.
Why does baking soda work for acid reflux?
The key to baking soda’s ability to treat acid reflux lies in its active ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. OTC antacids like Alka-Seltzer contain sodium bicarbonate, which makes them work.
The pancreas naturally produces sodium bicarbonate to protect the intestines. Baking soda is thought to mimic the effects of this process. As an absorbable antacid, sodium bicarbonate quickly neutralizes stomach acid and temporarily relieves the symptoms of acid reflux.
Caution: Sudden decrease in stomach acidity may cause acid reflux (increased acid production). Relief may be only temporary and the symptoms of acid reflux may become even worse than before.
The same type of baking soda you use to bake or inhale odors from the refrigerator can neutralize stomach acid. It is also cheaper, compared to OTC medications.
For people who do not like the taste of baking soda, there are OTC and prescription tablets. Most of them dissolve easily in water. See instructions in the box for the recommended dose.
Some of these other forms include:
- Alka-Seltzer is the most common OTC branded medicine containing sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is also used in some medicines with omeprazole PPI (Zegerid) to make omeprazole more effective, instead of being used for immediate relief of symptoms.
How to use baking soda for acid reflux?
Always ask your doctor for instructions if you are unsure about the dose of baking soda you should use to treat the symptoms of acid reflux. The recommended amount of baking soda is based on age.
Baking soda is intended to provide short-term relief and is not intended as a long-term treatment for acid stomach symptoms.
Remember, too much baking soda can cause acid reflux and worsen symptoms.
Baking soda is intended to be used for immediate relief of heartburn and digestion, but not for regular use or treatment of GERD. Consult your doctor if the acid reflux lasts more than 2 weeks. Your doctor may recommend other medications such as H2 blockers or PPIs.
Ask your doctor if baking soda is a good alternative treatment for you. They will be able to tell you if baking soda will interact with the medication or increase sodium levels.
Consult a doctor immediately if you have severe stomach pain after taking the dose.
Pregnant women and children under the age of 6 should avoid baking soda for the treatment of acid reflux.