Acid reflux and nausea

Nausea as the result of acid reflux


Alison Cullen
Nutritional Practitioner, BA (Hons), DN, DNT (Distinction)
@AVogelUK
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An introduction to acid reflux and nausea

Acid reflux is a common complaint nowadays, but with it, it can also bring a host of uncomfortable symptoms, nausea being one of them.

Acid reflux can occur as a result of the improper functioning of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS). This ring of muscle is important as it helps control what enters the stomach, and prevents the contents from flowing back up. However, if this sphincter malfunctions, we can end up with acid reflux as the contents of our stomach are able to travel back into our oesophagus. By this time the contents are quite acidic which can give rise to other symptoms including heartburn and nausea. 

How does acid reflux cause nausea?

As the acidic contents of our stomach make contact with our oesophagus we can experience a number of symptoms. Heartburn is a common problem for many, but actually, we can be left having been affected in other ways too, for example experiencing nausea.

There are a number of different reasons acid reflux can contribute to nausea.

Firstly, in instances of acid reflux, very often low stomach as opposed to too much is the problem. Stomach acid is important for digesting your food and if this process isn’t working effectively, we can be left with a full, uncomfortable tummy and nausea can occur more easily.

Next, as the contents of the stomach travel backwards up into the oesophagus this can make us feel quite ill. This can happen alone, or in combination with other symptoms which may exacerbate this further, including regurgitation, coughing or hiccups. Regurgitation may leave an acidic taste in the mouth, and coughing and hiccups will give rise to uncomfortable symptoms which if recurrent can give rise to nausea or even vomiting.

What can I try at home for nausea?

Nausea is uncomfortable but some simple home tips could help to keep your symptoms at bay:

  • Watch what you eat. With acid reflux present or not, our food choices can affect how we feel. But with this symptom in mind this is more important than ever. Make sensible food choices and avoid overly fatty or sweet foods which are more likely to make us feel sickly afterwards. Avoid fizzy drinks which contain lots of gas, to help prevent your stomach from bubbling away unnecessarily
  • Think about eating habits too. This may sound simple, but actually how you eat can have a big bearing on how you feel. It is extremely important to chew your food properly, up to 20 times per mouthful, in order to support the next steps in your digestive process. Next, take your time to enjoy your meal and sit at a table – if you rush your food you are more likely to overeat and not chew properly, plus if you don’t sit up straight your stomach will become crushed and not function at its best. If you eat on the go, your stomach isn’t given the attention it needs as other areas become priority and unsurprisingly your digestive functions are affected and nausea can crop up as result
  • Ginger. Ginger has long since been used traditionally to treat stomach complaints including acid reflux and nausea. It is thought to help gently support the functions of the stomach and trials have found it effective to help treat nausea as a result of a number of different situations1.

How can herbal remedies help me?

There may be some natural remedies to help keep nausea as a result of acid reflux under control:

  • Bitter herbs. Our Digestisan is a traditional herbal remedy which contains a combination of bitter herbs including artichoke, dandelion, boldo and soothing peppermint. 
  • Silicol Gel. Silicol Gel is rich in silicic acid and helps create a protective layer throughout the digestive tract. This means it may help calm some of the symptoms associated with acid reflux and IBS including nausea.

How can my doctor help?

For any persistent cases of nausea we would always recommend you have this checked by your doctor. If acid reflux is the likely cause, and home and herbal remedies haven’t done the trick for you, they may be able to prescribe some antacid medication which may be helpful as short-term solution. 

 

1.Ernst E and Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Br J Anaeth, 2000, 84(3), (367-371)

Digestisan - Oral drops for indigestion

To relieve indigestion and flatulence. Also available in 50ml size. Fresh herb tincture.
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