Burping, belching, stomach growling, gas pains, sore throat, phlegm, difficulty swallowing, coughing, reflux/heartburn, diarrhea, constipation even voice problems… Are any of these symptoms persistent or chronic issues in your life?
Fortunately, most of the symptoms above have not been ongoing issues in my life, so I was never completely aware of just how much they can impact the day-to-day quality and enjoyment of life. Not too long ago that all changed when I experienced food poisoning. It is because of what I suffered through that I am writing this article to give you simple every day and inexpensive strategies you can implement to reduce or even completely eliminate any and all of these symptoms. Though many things can cause these symptoms they ultimately, for the most part, center around a compromised digestive system (dyspepsia).
The food poisoning caused me to have seriously painful abdominal/gas pains and for some reason, constipation. I was constantly belching and burping which was my body‘s attempt to try to rid myself of the gas that was building up in my digestive system and this led to reflux symptoms like sore throat, phlegm, heartburn and cough, and even difficulty speaking. I knew the toxic bacteria were causing an imbalance in my gut and I took a powerful probiotic (100 billion) but I wasn’t sure how quickly or how much it would help. To address constipation, I took a tablespoon of ground psyllium husks stirred into 10 ounces of water and drank it immediately. I was also concerned about dehydration so I drank plenty of water and added electrolytes by drinking half of a bottle of Pedialyte. In less than 24 hours, the psyllium resolved constipation and 90% of my abdominal pain.
However, I continued to have a sore throat, cough, and difficulty speaking. These are often common symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) and LPR, (silent reflux called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux).
When you have abdominal and digestive issues like the ones I am describing, stomach contents can back up into your esophagus and in some cases through the esophagus into your throat and voice box as well. These contents can contain a protein digestive enzyme called pepsin that damage both your throat and your voice box and thus the symptoms I am describing.
Help for digestive issues, cough, sore throat, indigestion, acid reflux – I recommend the following:
- Gargling with Baking Soda: Baking soda can deactivate pepsin. Gargling with 1/4 tsp of baking soda mixed with 1/2 c of warm water and then swallowing it often brings relief to a sore throat. Note: Gargling does not allow the baking soda to reach the voice box which sits on top of the trachea (air pipe) which is protective.
- Steaming with Baking Soda: Using a steamer or inhaler, (Gurin – available on Amazon). To get the baking soda solution to your larynx (vocal cords) I suggest using a steamer/inhaler into which you put the baking soda water solution. Breath in the steam from the baking soda solution. It will reach the vocal cords and deactivate the pepsin that is irritating them.
- Psyllium – Drink 1 tablespoon of psyllium husks briskly stirred into 10 oz of water, 2-3 times per day.
- Left side-sleeping – When excess acid builds up in the stomach, it can come into contact with the esophagus and as mentioned, can even rise upward towards the throat, causing a number of uncomfortable issues. Severe heartburn, pain, and even the feeling of choking or coughing at night can be the result of acid reflux or GERD. When left untreated, acid reflux often gets worse, making sleeping even more difficult and even causing damage to the esophagus. Sleeping on your left side is an easy and effective method of natural relief that can not only relieve heartburn pain but can also help prevent damage to the stomach and esophagus. When sleeping on your left side, the opening of your stomach that connects to the esophagus will be pointing down making it more difficult for the acid to reflux from your stomach into the esophagus.
- Slippery Elm and Sage – If the baking soda doesn’t completely eliminate your sore throat and cough, I suggest adding 1 capsule each of slippery elm and sage to either 1/2 half cup of warm water or 1/2 ounce of olive oil, whichever you are most comfortable with. Gargling it for 45 seconds to a minute will really help.
Please understand that the techniques and procedures I have described above help alleviate these symptoms regardless of what caused them (indigestion, burping, belching, stomach growling/gas pains, sore throat, phlegm, difficulty swallowing, coughing, reflux/heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and voice issues). After following this regimen, I was 90 to 100% better in less than a few days.
In most cases, the symptoms described above will be due to dyspepsia/indigestion/GERD
The two most important preventive daily steps that you need to incorporate into your life if you suffer these symptoms are:
1- take a tablespoon of psyllium dissolved in 8 to 10 ounces of water twice a day just before or after a meal.
2- take a powerful probiotic once a day.
I believe by just doing these two things there is a strong likelihood that you will reduce or eliminate your indigestion, abdominal issues, and or GERD.
These easy preventative and relief strategies should make a big difference. If you try any of these suggestions, please let me know which of the options you found most beneficial.
To the Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Related Article: Natural Treatments for GERD
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