I was up Googling how to get rid of heartburn in the middle of the night a few years ago and came across this. If you find yourself in the exact same position this is the instant cure I found that works.
If there's anything I've learned about being a grown up it's that there's a lot of weird shit that goes on inside your body as you age. Holes get bigger, muscles get smaller and plantar warts appear even though you aren't a teenage boy on a swim team.
Add random heartburn to that list. I used to think I had some type of rare and special disease but as it turns out .............. I have gas. Gas in itself isn't all that bad. Especially if you make your living by belching the alphabet (which I do not).
It's when you can't get the hell rid of the gas that it's a problem. When it just builds up and builds up inside your tiny little locked down stomach.
There's no movement going on in my gut or intestines. You know how your stomach gurgles throughout the day? I have no gurgling. There are no gurgles. I'm gurgleless. I bend, I stretch, I move around. I even hop on the spot in an attempt to burp myself (which actually works). I do Yoga poses entitled "Wind Releaser" and twist back and forth trying to force some kind of movement out of my stomach and convince it that everything's O.K. No one is attacking it.
I have no stress, I'm not bothered. Unless you count how stressed and bothered I am by the excruciating pain in my methane filled gut.
And then I burp (or otherwise) and everything is fine with the world.
The other thing I get the odd time, which is equally excruciating, is heartburn. I have a very important sounding condition called, gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short. Basically it means angry acid makes its way out of my stomach and up towards oesophagus.
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Gerd's a condition that allows acid from your stomach to travel up your esophagus causing heartburn. The muscle that separates your stomach from your esophagus relaxes at the wrong time which allows acid to escape and make its way up your throat. The Mayo Clinic knows all about GERD - read about it here if you weirdly want more information on it.
To help stop the symptoms of GERD I take a medication. Because of that medication I don't get heartburn symptoms from GERD a lot, maybe 2 or 3 times a year but it's always when I'm sleeping (that just makes it more noticeable because the acids can make their way up) and it always wakes me up wondering what the hell is going on, and did why did I eat a pot of blazing fire in the middle of my sleep?
How to Get Rid of Heartburn?
There is one thing you probably have at home right now that will help to instantly get rid of heartburn: mustard. A teaspoon of regular, squeeze bottle, mustard can instantly take the pain of heartburn away.
You can also:
- Stand up.
- Chew gum to dilute the acid and help wash it away. There's also bicarbonate gum that will neutralize the acid!
- Drink a spoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Chew Gaviscon tablets.
- Eat a piece of candied ginger. (this works great if you're nauseated as well)
Why Does Mustard Work?
Mustard acting as a remedy for heartburn isn't just woo-hoo hooey, there's a scientific reason behind why it will stop your pain immediately. Mustard is the perfect natural cure for heartburn because it's alkaline. Therefore, it will neutralize the acid in your stomach.
Yes. A teaspoon of mustard. Regular old, Heinz or French's mustard. Eat it. If it bothers you imagine there's an Ikea hotdog underneath it. The first time I did this I remember almost gagging. The hotdog thing helped me out a lot. Now I kindda enjoy my teaspoon of mustard.
Heartburn at Night
If you get heartburn when you're sleeping, run to the kitchen and take a teaspoon of mustard. Before you get back into bed plump up your pillows and lay down with your head and chest as elevated as possible. You don't have to be sitting straight up but the higher your head is the harder it is for acid to travel up your throat.
I've heard of and tried all of the other tricks. Salty water, soda water, cider vinegar, Gaviscon, Tums .... all of it. And the only thing that has ever, actually, truly worked instantly ... is mustard.
Discovering mustard works as a home remedy was almost as shocking as when I discovered my frozen yogourt tampon cure for yeast infections.
It does NOT work 100% of the time, but it works most of the time. So if you're up in the middle of the night right now, stop reading already and go and eat a teaspoon of mustard to see if it helps.
I've had gut issues for as long as I can remember. I don't think I stress about stuff or get tense, but my stomach thinks otherwise. My stomach thinks I stress out A LOT and it, being the extremely thoughtful organ that it is, gets angry for me. Angry like a nest of wasps made out of acid. So my stomach takes care of all the stress and anxiety I feel, without having to bother my pretty little head about it.
I'll believe in my mind that I'm moving along fine in life not being bothered by a thing when my stomach will start to tighten up. Then I'll feel a bit bloaty maybe. Then I'll notice my stomach is tightening, hard as a rock and ballooning to approximately the same size as a Water Buffalo. You know how when a country thinks conditions are unsafe and it's under attack, it'll go into lockdown? My gut goes into lockdown. Like North Korea.
I can't absolutely and completely guarantee that this is going to work for you but I can tell you it's worked for a lot of other people (you'll see proof in the comment section) and definitely works for me when Kim Jong-un rears his ugly head (and weird haircut) in my gut.
A spoon full of sugar may make the medicine go down, but a spoon full of mustard can destroy a dictator.
If you have another proven heartburn trick let us all know. Not something "you've heard works" or something you've read about please, only things that have actually, for real, worked for you. The Internet is a big fat liar so everything you read on it isn't always true. Except this mustard trick. It's true.
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Having stomach and intestinal issues are the worst. I’ve had so many tests and procedures on my guts and they all come back normal. But I know I’m not normal and I worry about it all the time. I’m pretty sure only makes it worse. But it’s good to know I’m not alone in the world.
One that has worked every time for me is eating a raw potato. I choose a smaller one, but according to my doctor, the potato absorbs the stomach acid.
Hi Karen, will Dijon mustard work as well? Or is only yellow mustard the miracle solution? We don't have yellow mustard in our home.
I actually have no idea! But both Dijon and yellow mustard are mustard seeds and vinegar - Dijon is made from brown mustard seeds, yellow from white ones. My guess would be that Dijon would work the same. - karen!
It is 5am and I have taken the max of 7 TUMS. I'm staying at a friend's house and was desperate, so snooped in the fridge. All she had was dijon mustard and it has worked beautifully. Ah....relief. Now I can get 2 hours of sleep...
I have constant anxiety related stomach problems… I carry a packet of fennel seeds wherever I go. Also good for middle of the night acid reflux.
I’m going to check out the mustard approach as well!
Try half a stick of celery. I read about this and tried it and it worked, I was able to go back to sleep shortly after.
Celery works for me too. And chewing gum helps when I am driving in the car to an appointment. I guess it is some stress causing me to get 'burpy' but the gum stops the burping as the saliva helps neutralize things. I was terrible last winter and finally gave up coffee and my stomach has been so much happier. I had given up tea also but have been able to add that back with no issues. And ginger chews are great!
Pickle juice. Straight outta the jar (if you can drink it without all the pickles spilling out of the jar, or choking on a few of the floating seeds...
Mustard and pickle juice are great for muscle cramps also. My husband wasn't a believer until he was cramping SO badly he would try anything. And he hates mustard -- but it did the trick!
I've heard that about leg cramping. I've never had it but I'd almost like to get it just once so I could try the mustard trick for it, lol. ~ karen!
Hi Karen - love your posts! So great to have some good laughs!
I have found that if I lie on my left side, the heartburn is less. I understand that it's because our stomachs actually are positioned sideways and the entry to the stomach is on the right, so if you lie on your right side, gravity pulls more acid toward your oesophagus.
Also wanted to share a lesson I learned the hard way. If you are on stomach medication with a name ending in "...prazole" (a Protein Pump Inhibitor) make sure you get a bone density scan every year. The fine print in the side effects list says not to take it for more than a year due to increased risk of fractures. My doctor had me on it for several years and I got osteoporosis. He said oh, that's very rare. When I insisted in Sept. 2018 that he take me off Omeprazole (Protein Pump Inhibitor) and onto Famotidine (an H2 Receptor Blocker) my bone density stopped deteriorating (scanned August 2020). Scans are only every two years so I'm due again in August 2022. Just sayin....
Good to know! Thanks! ~ karen
Thanks for that, Audrey!
I've been taking 'Omeprazole' for some time, actually for heartburn and 'stomach discomfort'. Really didn't think I needed it, since those weren't my complaints. I've wanted to get tested for bone density, an Orthopedist told me I had signs of Osteoporosis when he was working on nerves in my back.
Appreciate the heads up!
You're welcome. These days you have to second guess everyone, I guess. Squeaky wheel gets the grease!
I recently learned that the proper term is Proton Pump Inhibitor (not Protein). Sorry about that!
Nooo problem at all! :) ~ karen
Thanks for the mustard tip. I usually use baking soda in warm water. Also, elevate your head above your feet when sleeping, a surgeon suggested this to me. It is easy to stick a brick, board on the floor under the top of the bed to raise the bed a few inches. You won't notice the difference in elevation....but your gut will be happier due to the slight slope & gravity then works to prevent reflux. See Dr Weil M.D. good medical article He is not a quack.
Bit of baking soda in water-my dad used to use it, and it works great for me too!
Another reason when to have candied ginger... Yummm. Unfortunate situation to have that reason, though...
I read recently that collagen has been proven to help stimulate bone growth as well as great for the gut.
Someone mentioned about elevating the head of the bed. It does work well. My dad used to wake up with acid reflux for years. We put a small piece of 2x4 on the flat under each leg of the headboard and he's been fine since. Just that little bit made all the difference
Maybe there are different kinds of heartburn that react to different methods of repair?
I have a handful of esophageal problems plus bleeding ulcers in the past (for me, easily brought on by stress.) The one thing I do that is foolproof is just to simply gulp down a large amount of whatever I'm drinking, which usually is something mild. Water would always be best. Now it's only one gulp, the largest amount you can swallow without gagging. Head down, and rising as you swallow, even trying to push it down, exaggerated like a cartoon! If you can actually feel the liquid going down the throat and into the stomach, then you have done it right! I can "feel" the heartburn being washed away on the tide. For me, that's it. The pain and pressure are gone in seconds. If I don't feel it rushing into my stomach very noticeably, I just do it again, pushing it down as hard as I can.
This does sound silly, but that's my description! It is very simple and easy to do, but remember that it's one gulp only. It feels to me that the heartburn is a bubble full of air squeezing at the sides of my esophagus, and I'm deflating it by pushing it down into the stomach. Oh, usually a very large burp will ensue right after!
You can do this without the heartburn to see how it feels. A test run. Sometimes it's soothing anyway. Probably best to do over a sink or just not at table, the burp is the only embarrassing part, but just in case...
A teaspoon of mustard ALSO works incredibly well for leg cramps. I. Kid. You. Not! I have used it A LOT. My dad told me about it because he would get leg cramps back in the day at National Guard camp. Try it! I’ve used regular yellow mustard, spicy brown mustard, and Gulden’s mustard. All work for me.
That's what a lot of people have commented. :) I don't get leg cramps but if I do ... ! ` karen
I remember seeing this information in your email updates a while back and it has saved my bacon tonight! I have been struggling with near constant heartburn on this trip and TUMS only gives momentary relief. Found dijon in my friend's fridge and it worked! It did sting a bit when it hit the part of the esophagus that was most affected, but quickly resolved after that. I like the tip of one of your readers to carry travel packets of mustard with you. I'm definitely going to do that!
I have the same issues and find that drinking really cold ice water seems to help. I will definitely try the mustard cure.
Good luck! ~ karen!
Strange as it sounds, Sauerkraut is wonderful for heartburn. It also helps with gut issues like gas and bloating!