Tips to Control Acid Reflux
Heartburn, Acid Reflux, GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)—whatever you want to call it, is a pain! Triggered by an increase in the acid produced in your stomach, the acid splashes up the esophagus and causes discomfort. Left untreated, besides being very uncomfortable, it can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus. If you experience the occasional acid reflux, check out the suggestions below. If you are experiencing regular problems with acid reflux, see your doctor for an evaluation of the cause and proper medical treatment as well as discussing lifestyle changes that may help.
The cause of acid reflux is unknown. It can develop for a variety of reasons. By looking at the many causes, you can see what lifestyle change is appropriate to eliminate or mitigate the problem of acid reflux.
Stomach abnormalities such as hiatal hernias
Pregnancy due to increasing levels of hormones combined with pressure from the growing fetus. This usually goes away immediately after the baby is born!
Damaging mucus membranes
Weakens the esophagus
Impairing muscle reflexes in the throat
Increasing acid secretion
Reducing LES muscle function
Reducing salivation which neutralizes the effect of acid
Eating acidic foods: Common foods that can contribute to acid reflux but avoid any foods you identify as the cause of your acid reflux:
Alcohol—limit drinks to no more than 1-2 per day
Citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons
Coffee and tea (regular or decaffeinated)
Fatty or fried foods
Foods containing tomato or tomato sauce
Garlic and onions
Spicy foods such as those containing chili or curry
Being overweight or obese
Eating large meals or lying down after eating a meal
Snacking close to bedtime
Lifestyle change suggestions to lessen acid reflux:
Elevate the head of the bed 4-6 inches or try sleeping in a recliner
Don’t eat 2-3 hours before lying down
Eat frequent small meals. Add fiber to help you feel full and keep you regular. Eat slowly so your mind registers that your stomach is full.
Avoid the foods that trigger your acid reflux
Stay hydrated. Fluids help your body rid itself of waste and keep you regular.
Chew gum! That tells your body to produce saliva which will balance the acid. Peppermint or spearmint can irritate so pick another flavor!
If you are overweight, lose weight!
Don’t wear tight clothing or tight belts
Quit smoking and limit or eliminate alcohol from your daily routine.
Ask your doctor if medications you are taking could be the cause of your acid reflux