Acid reflux occurs when the stomach acid gets back into the esophagus, the muscular tube connecting your throat to the stomach. The leading symptom of this condition is a burning sensation around the chest, popularly known as heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux include a regurgitated or sour food taste in your mouth.
While various lifestyle changes may help relieve acid reflux symptoms, some people need to use medication. Whether over the counter or on prescription, these medications are effective at helping this group of people.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
According to ACG (the American College of Gastroenterology), people experiencing acid reflux often feel a burning discomfort in their chest. The discomfort typically moves up into the throat and neck. Others experience a sour or bitter taste in their mouths.
The symptoms can last for a couple of hours. For others, the symptoms may worsen after eating certain types of food. While occasional acid reflux is not unusual, chronic symptoms that happen more than twice a week maybe as a result of a severe condition known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Is it Possible to Control Acid Reflux Symptoms?
Well, it’s relatively easy to control acid reflux symptoms. So, if you’re experiencing regular episodes of acid reflux, it would be helpful for you to incorporate the following tactics:
Eat Slowly and Sparingly
You’ll experience more reflux when your stomach is full. Instead of eating three large meals per day, you may need to eat small meals more often.
Avoid Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated beverages make you burp, and this action sends some acid into your esophagus. So, instead of drinking sparkling water, consider flat water.
Avoid Certain Foods
At one time, doctors advised people experiencing regular acid reflux to eradicate all but the blandest meals from their diets. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, as it’s quite tricky to eliminate all such meals from your diet.
All in all, you need to lower the intake of foods that trigger acid reflux, such as fatty foods, mint, tomatoes, spicy foods, garlic, onions, tea, coffee, alcohol, and chocolate.
Stay Up After Eating
When sitting or standing, the force of gravity helps in keeping the acid in the stomach. So, it’s always advisable to eat about three hours before going to bed. Furthermore, you need to avoid falling asleep after lunch and also avoid late suppers or midnight snacks.
Avoid Moving Fast
Avoid intense workouts a few hours after eating. While an after-dinner walk is okay, vigorous exercise isn’t, particularly if it needs a lot of bending.
Lose Weight if Advised
Being overweight spreads the muscular structure, which supports our lower esophageal sphincter. In the process, it lowers the pressure which holds the sphincter closed. Usually, this results in heartburn and reflux.
The nicotine present in tobacco relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter. Studies have shown an increased risk of acid reflux among smokers.
If the above acid reflux treatments fail to work on you or you experience difficulties or severe pain as you swallow, consider seeing a medic to rule out other causes. Even if you pursue lifestyle changes, you may need to use medication as well to regulate the condition.
What are the Causes of Acid Reflux?
A common cause is the stomach abnormality known as hiatal hernia. It occurs when the stomach upper part and LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter) move above the diaphragm.
If it’s working appropriately, the diaphragm typically helps prevent the acid from rising into the esophagus. However, if you’re suffering from hiatal hernia, it’s pretty easy for the acid to move up into the esophagus.
Other common causes include:
- Eating large meals
- Lying down immediately after eating
- Being obese or overweight
- Eating close to bedtime
- Taking various beverages like alcohol, coffee, carbonated drinks, and tea
- Taking ibuprofen, aspirin, blood pressure medications, and certain muscle relaxers
Acid reflux is an everyday digestive disorder, and fortunately, doctors can recommend various classifications of medications to relieve the symptoms. While some home remedies may also help, scientists aren’t yet sure about their safety and effectiveness.