Is the Sauna Bad for Heartburn or Acid Reflux?

If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, you may be wondering if a sauna could help. 

Saunas are not bad for heartburn or acid reflux; in fact, regular visits can actually help improve these conditions. The heat can help to reduce inflammation, while the dry heat of an infrared sauna specifically can help to lower stomach acid levels. Saunas can also reduce stress, which may reduce the occurrence of heartburn and acid reflux.

Keep reading to learn more about what the research says about the potential benefits of saunas for those who suffer from heartburn and acid reflux.

What is heartburn and acid reflux?

Heartburn and acid reflux are common conditions caused by stomach acid traveling up into the esophagus. 

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the lower chest, while acid reflux is the regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. Both conditions are extremely irritating and can cause discomfort, especially after eating or when lying down to sleep or rest.

Unfortunately, heartburn and acid reflux can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, and it can be difficult to find the root issue.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic form of acid reflux. It occurs when too much acid is concentrated in the stomach and backflows into the esophagus, causing irritation and a burning sensation. 

Although getting rid of GERD completely is rare, typical treatments include lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery. While not a standard treatment, there is evidence that visiting the sauna can also provide relief.

How can a sauna help with heartburn and acid reflux?

Research suggests that GERD may be caused by an immune response that triggers inflammation in the gastrointestinal system, causing reflux.

The heat generated by a sauna can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. The dry heat of a sauna can also help to reduce the amount of stomach acid in the body, which can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. 

The heat from the sauna increases circulation and relaxes the muscles in the stomach, allowing the body’s digestive system to work a little more efficiently. When the digestive system works better, the stomach is less likely to force acid up into the esophagus. 

Typically, heartburn and acid reflux are treated with over-the-counter antacids such as Gelusil or Rolaids. Some people, however, prefer to avoid medical intervention whenever possible, especially since long-term use of antacids can lead to low stomach acid or even overproduction of stomach acid.

However, speaking to your doctor before trying new treatments is important to ensure it’s safe for you. They may be able to provide you with specific advice on how to use a sauna best to reduce your symptoms.

Saunas can also be a great way to relax and reduce stress, which can help reduce heartburn symptoms and acid reflux. 

How long should you stay in the sauna for heartburn or acid reflux?

Despite the potential benefits, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Generally, spending no more than 15 minutes in the sauna at a time is recommended to treat heartburn symptoms or acid reflux. It’s important to remember to drink plenty of fluids before and after your sauna session to help replace any fluids lost from sweating. 

Additionally, you should stop your sauna session if you experience any chest pain, dizziness, or nausea.

The heat and humidity of the sauna can relax the muscles in the esophagus, allowing stomach acid to move back down and relieve the burning sensation of heartburn. 

How long you should spend in the sauna will depend on your tolerance for heat and humidity. 

Is dry heat good for acid reflux?

Many people who suffer from acid reflux or heartburn have found relief through regular sauna sessions. 

Saunas come in three main types: dry, steam, and infrared. Dry heat is the most commonly used type of sauna and is known to reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.

Studies have shown that the heat and humidity of a traditional sauna or steam room can be beneficial in relieving acid reflux symptoms such as laryngitis and other gastrointestinal issues.

Additionally, regular sauna use can help maintain a healthy weight, reducing acid reflux symptoms. If you use steam rooms or add steam to your traditional sauna session, the sauna’s steam helps keep the vocal folds moist, which is important for good vocal health, overall.

To maximize the benefits of a sauna, it is important to use the sauna in a safe and controlled manner. It is recommended to start with short sessions (10-15 minutes) and gradually increase the length of the session (up to around 30 minutes). Also, it is important to stay hydrated and take breaks from the heat, when needed.

Furthermore, some people may find that saunas aggravate their acid reflux symptoms rather than help them. If you find that the sauna or steam room worsens your heartburn, you should stop using it immediately.

Could the sauna cause heartburn flare-ups?

When it comes to managing heartburn and acid reflux, many people turn to the sauna for relief. 

While the sauna can provide many benefits, it can also cause heartburn flare-ups. 

Regular infrared sauna sessions can do wonders in relieving the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive problems for some people; however, any instance of extreme heat may cause a flare-up in others.

Athletes, especially, are at risk for GERD flare-ups due to the intensity of their workouts. It’s common for doctors to mistake pain triggered by pancreatic cancer for reflux or other GI issues, many of which a sauna session can aggravate. If you have frequent heartburn or acid reflux, you must speak to your doctor before using a sauna.

That being said, a sauna session may help to balance your gut microbiome and reduce related symptoms such as gas, bloating, and indigestion.

At the end of the day, the benefits of a sauna are worth the risk of heartburn flare-ups

Possible side effects of using a sauna for heartburn

Using a sauna for heartburn or acid reflux relief can be beneficial, but it is important to be aware of any possible side effects. 

Heat can make heartburn and acid reflux worse, so it is important to take caution when using a sauna. Some possible side effects of using a sauna for heartburn or acid reflux relief include dizziness, dehydration, and overheating. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid staying in the sauna for too long is important. 

Additionally, it is important to listen to your body and stop if you start to feel any discomfort. Taking these precautions can help ensure that using a sauna is safe and effective for heartburn and acid reflux relief.

Can a steam room treat heartburn symptoms?

Steam room treatment can help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. 

A steam room helps to relax the muscles in the body, which can help to reduce the pressure on the stomach and reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Additionally, the heat of the steam room can help to reduce inflammation and irritation of the stomach, which can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. 

The sauna can also be beneficial in helping to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux, as the heat and humidity can help to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation.

What other treatments can be used to relieve symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn?

Several treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn. 

Some of the most common treatments include:

  • eating smaller meals
  • avoiding certain foods and drinks
  • sleeping with your head elevated
  • using over-the-counter medications such as antacids

Additionally, lifestyle changes can help reduce acid reflux symptoms, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, and reducing stress.

A sauna can benefit some people who suffer from acid reflux or heartburn. The heat from the sauna can help relax the muscles of the digestive tract, which can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.