Acid Reflux? 7 Tips to Control Your Symptoms

Lifestyle changes can help you control gastroesophageal Reflux without medication

Acid Reflux? 7 Tips to Control Your Symptoms

Reflux occurs when stomach contents, both acid, and undigested food, flow into the esophagus (the tube from the throat to the stomach) through the lower esophageal sphincter. The medical term to describe this process is Gastroesophageal Reflux, and the return flow is known as Acid Reflux.

Throughout their lives, most people have acid reflux from time to time. However, by the time this becomes a disease, the Patient has mild acid reflux occurring at least 1-2 times per week, or moderate to severe acid reflux occurring at least once per week.

Acid reflux can cause a sore throat and hoarseness. It can also literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid Reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder or GERD. GERD's most common symptom is heartburn, pain in the upper abdomen and chest, regurgitation, coughing, or vomiting; this is not only unpleasant, but it can also put you at risk for more severe problems, such as ulcers and cancer of the esophagus. 

Although it is difficult to live with Gastroesophageal Reflux, there are lifestyle changes that can help you manage your symptoms:

  1. Eat moderately and slowly
    The amount of calories and the amount of fat you are consuming is an important part of Gastroesophageal Reflux. Research suggests that eating foods that contain more than 500 calories or 20 grams of fat can worsen Reflux.

  2. Do not smoke
    In addition to the many other health problems caused by cigarettes, smoking can also make reflux symptoms worse. Smoking reduces saliva production, increases stomach acid, and irritates the esophagus, increasing your discomfort.

  3. Don't go to bed right after eating
    When you lie down after eating, the acid flows more easily into your esophagus. Try to stay upright for at least 3 hours after eating. Even if you wait the suggested 3 hours before going to bed, your reflux symptoms may be worse at night. If so, using a pillow leaning over your back may help.

  4. Don't Ignore Your Weight
    The risk and severity of this situation tend to increase for those with higher body weights. This may be related to increased pressure on the stomach or hormonal changes. Losing a few pounds can often help relieve symptoms.

  5. Avoid foods and beverages that can cause heartburn symptom
    Some foods are more likely than others to trigger Reflux, such as high-fat and spicy foods, peppermint, onions, tomatoes, garlic, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you can try to eliminate them to see if doing so will control your Reflux, and then add them back into your diet one at a time.

  6. Check your medications

Some medications, such as antidepressants tricyclics, anti-inflammatory, pain relievers, and others, can relax the sphincter. However, others can irritate the esophagus. If you are taking any medication regularly, check with your doctor to see if it might be causing heartburn.

  1. Don't be afraid to get treatment 

Many people experience occasional heartburn and don't think much about it once it passes. But if over time, you find that you don't leave home without your antacids or you have symptoms of heartburn so often that it keeps you awake at night, seek medical treatment for Reflux.

In addition to lifestyle changes, prescription medications can help relieve symptoms. 

Putting these simple steps into practice in your day-to-day life can help lessen the discomfort of symptoms caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux.

Make an appointment with your Gastroenterologist, try to keep a detailed record of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Also, mention any medications you are taking. Learning how to prevent acid reflux can be the first step in keeping it under control, contact us, we are here to help!