If you have ever felt a burning pain or discomfort in the upper middle
part of your stomach or if you feel liquid rising up to your throat that
leaves a sour, acidic taste in your mouth, then you may have been experiencing
acid reflux. Almost anyone can experience acid reflux as a result of indigestion
from time to time, but when you start feeling the symptoms as frequently
as more than twice a week, you may already be suffering from gastroesophageal
reflux disease or GERD. Before your symptoms develop into a chronic disease,
a few lifestyle changes are essential.
Avoid Foods that Triggers Acid Reflux
Some of the foods you eat can weaken your lower esophagus sphincter (LES)
or the part of your stomach that prevents acid from backing up.
These foods include:
- Fried and fatty foods, including red meats and dairy
- Tomato-based foods
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Onions and garlic
- Milk chocolate
- Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks
Change Your Eating Habits
When you experience symptoms after eating a large meal, it can also be
helpful to make some changes in your eating habits. Try to eat slowly
and chew your food well to prevent pressure to your LES. If you can, you
may also opt to eat smaller meals spread out throughout the day instead
of the usual three large meals a day.
Do Not Lie Down After Eating
Gravity is your friend when it comes to acid reflux. You want your acid
to stay down, and that is why it is important to wait for at least three
hours after your meal before lying down. When you lie down while your
digestive system is at work, gastric acids can easily flow backward to
your esophagus. You may also want to elevate your bed at least four to
six inches to help prevent nighttime acid reflux.
Reduce Alcohol Intake & Quit Smoking
Nicotine and alcohol are known to relax the muscles of your LES, making
it weak and unable to perform its function. Smoking can also interfere
with your digestion, which can likely trigger painful symptoms. Avoiding
cigarettes and alcohol, especially close to bedtime, can be helpful in
preventing acid reflux.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of acid reflux. Extra belly fat can
put pressure on your stomach and push your gastric acid up your esophagus.
Losing weight, especially if you are overweight can significantly help
you get relief from acid reflux.
If the symptoms of your acid reflux persist even after making these significant
lifestyle changes, it may be time to visit your doctor to better understand
your condition and get medication.
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.