A sour deal
Heartburn: What helps? About 40 percent of Germans suffer from acidosis. Again under heartburn. Home remedies often provide quick relief. But reflux disease is also sometimes the cause of heartburn.
When we eat and drink copiously, especially when it comes to hearty meals, alcohol and sweets, this can sometimes have unpleasant consequences: Some time later, our stomach rebels and acidic gastric fluid rises into the esophagus. Many people are familiar with this feeling, says gastroenterologist Professor Dr. Ralf Kiesslich, Clinic Director of Internal Medicine II at the Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Kliniken Wiesbaden: "About 40 percent of the population suffers from heartburn now and then, so I would definitely call it a widespread disease."
Cause of heartburn: The esophagus is not protected against the acid
Reflux disease is particularly dangerous because the rising stomach acid really corrodes the esophagus: "Unlike the stomach, the esophagus is not protected from the acid by a mucous membrane," explains Kiesslich. This leads over time to esophagitis. In the worst case, can even promote the development of esophageal cancer. That is why a precise examination is so important. The development of reflux disease is favored by many different factors. One of them is the diaphragmatic hernia, medically called hiatus hernia. "This is not a hernia, but here the diaphragm, which separates the chest and abdominal cavity, is virtually worn out," explains the expert. The esophagus passes through a fairly narrow gap in the diaphragm into the abdomen. In hiatal hernia, this gap is widened, and parts of the stomach can push through it, back into the esophagus. The reason for this is usually a congenital weakness of the connective tie. But also as part of the normal aging process, the connective tie can loosen in this area. A hiatal hernia can, but does not necessarily have to, cause symptoms. Often, obesity also plays a role, which is why Professor Kiesslich gives his patients clear advice: "Losing weight helps!"It's better to avoid foods from lists circulating on the Internet that are supposed to promote heartburn: "I don't believe in demonizing coffee per se, for example. Everyone has different triggers that need to be found out." Some studies suggest that it may have a lot to do with individual intolerances.
"Losing weight helps better against heartburn than indiscriminate avoidance of certain foods!"
Healing earth and herbal tea as a home remedy for heartburn
How does heartburn develop in the first place? Normally, the esophagus is a "one-way street". This means food pulp is transported from the mouth to the stomach, and a sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus prevents it all from coming back up again. But if this is weakened, or if the stomach is strongly stretched by a sumptuous meal, the muscle loosens and stomach contents together with -acid come up again. "If this happens occasionally, it's perfectly normal," says the expert. In these cases, one can try to counteract with home remedies: "Some people find healing clay helpful, others do well with milk or soothing herbal tea mixtures." If all this does not lead to the desired goal, and the belching occurs more frequently, so that you feel impaired in your quality of life, you should definitely go to the doctor. Then something more serious may be behind it: the so-called reflux disease. The boundaries between it and "normal" belching are blurred, and it is not possible to say what the cause is merely on the basis of the symptoms. The doctor therefore performs a gastroscopy to get to the bottom of it.
For 1 serving of anti-reflux tea (preparation time approx. Put yarrow herb in a tea strainer. Pour 200 ml of boiling water over it. 10-15 min. infuse and strain. Drinking up to three times a day.
Tip: The tea tastes less bitter and herbaceous when cold. You can therefore also let it cool down a bit. Then place covered in refrigerator for one hour. It is best to prepare 1 liter for the day.
Acid blockers can be used to support wound healing
Nowadays, the symptoms are usually treated with proton pump inhibitors, also known as acid blockers. They reduce stomach acid and help heal wounds, but should only be taken in doses and under medical supervision. Because even if they are generally rather well tolerated, there are patients who should be more careful: For example, older women who had taken acid blockers for heartburn over a long period of time had an increased risk of osteoporosis. The amption: The body can absorb the mineral calcium, which is important for bone health, worse. In addition, the risk of pneumonia increases under certain circumstances, explains Kiesslich: "In patients with a weakened immune system, bacteria from the stomach could reach the respiratory tract more easily due to the lower amount of stomach acid."But there are alternatives, as a recent study by American researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows. Scientists studied how effective a plant-based, Mediterranean diet is compared to taking acid blockers in nearly 200 subjects. The result was impressive: the effect is actually similar. Even though the sample was rather small, it shows that a conscious, healthy diet can help alleviate symptoms. A recently used, but in itself well-known remedy against heartburn are preparations from algae, called alginate. Those who still have problems despite acid blockers can take them additionally. When in contact with acid, the alginate with its gel-like consistency wraps around the food pulp. Sounds unappetizing, but it is nicer than constant belching.