Everyone has struggled with acid reflux at a certain point in their life, and everyone is familiar with the discomfort that comes with it. Acid reflux is a condition in which acidic gastric fluid repeatedly flows backwards into the tube connecting your stomach and mouth (oesophagus). This produces a burning sensation in your chest called heartburn. If it occurs more than twice a week, then you may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There are several things that may cause acid reflux, but the most common cause is food that’s high in fat or acidic, like tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppermint and cheese.
Most people experience heartburn and acid reflux occasionally. GERD is a severe disease that affects about 22 % of people in the USA. Here are some steps you can take to avoid acid reflux.
Avoid Oily and Fatty Foods
People suffering from acid reflux are advised to eliminate oily and heavy foods from their diets. There are certain foods that are likely to trigger reflux, including spicy foods, onions, fatty foods, mint, chocolate, alcohol, tea, tomatoes and coffee. You should pay attention to how your body responds to different types of food.
Keep Your Body Inclined While Sleeping
Keep your head at least 5 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can do these by using tall bed risers supporting the head of your bed. However, if your wife or roommate objects to this, try using a foam wedge pillow set for your upper body. Never create a wedge by stacking one pillow on top of the other because they cannot provide you with constant support.
When the stomach is full of food, there can be more reflux in the food pipe. If you have the time for this, you may want to try a technique known as “grazing” –eating small meals throughout the day instead of consuming three large meals daily.
Don’t Lie Down After Eating
When you’re sitting or standing, gravity helps keep gastric acid in the stomach where it should be. Ideally, you should finish eating at least three hours before you lie down to sleep. Also, you should avoid late suppers, naps after lunch and midnight snacks.
Drink Less Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated drinks are filled with carbon dioxide, acids and bubbles. They might be refreshing to drink, but remember that those bubbles will keep on buzzing in your stomach.
These drinks can build pressure inside your stomach. This may push the food in the stomach back up your food pipe (esophagus), causing acid reflux.
Check Your Medicines
Some medications like tricyclic antidepressants, anti-inflammatory painkillers, and postmenopausal estrogen can relax the sphincter; on the other hand, other drugs such as ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel), or alendronate (Fosamax), which are used to increase bone density have the potential to irritate the oesophagus.
If you have symptoms like difficulty swallowing or severe pain, kindly consult your doctor to exclude other causes. You may also need medicine to treat acid reflux even as you are making changes to your lifestyle.