In addition to heartburn, some common symptoms of chronic acid reflux disease include: difficulty swallowing; chronic sore throat; persistent coughing or hoarseness; laryngitis; frequent belching or vomiting; upset stomach; chest pain not related to the heart; inflammation of the gums; erosion of tooth enamel, and chronic bad breath. Untreated acid reflux disease increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer. If you or someone you love suffers from chronic acid reflux, make sure you read these three tips for acid reflux relief. Plus: Test your heart attack risk…
Acid Reflux Relief Tip #1: Make Lifestyle Changes
Certain lifestyle practices can increase the symptoms of acid reflux. Here are some tips you should follow to successfully reduce the occurrence of these painful and uncomfortable side effects:
- Position Gravity plays an important factor in keeping acid out of the esophagus. Try to keep your posture upright, especially after eating, to allow digestion to occur properly. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours in between eating and lying down. If acid reflux occurs often during the night, raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches.
- Exercise/exertion Contraction of the abdominal muscles can force food that is still in the stomach to travel back up into the esophagus. Avoid physical exertion directly after eating and try to wait at least an hour before engaging in any kind of exercise.
- Stress Strong emotions can cause you to tense up, contracting those same stomach muscles. Monitor your reaction to stressful or highly emotional situations and try to keep your temper below the boiling point.
- Body weight Excess fat in the abdominal area puts extra pressure on the stomach and can increase the symptoms of acid reflux. If you are overweight you will want to achieve a healthier weight and then maintain it.
- Pregnancy Being pregnant also plays a role in developing chronic acid reflux, as the weight of the baby crowds the stomach area. Symptoms will usually be relieved soon after the delivery of the baby.
- Other Some other tips that will help in acid reflux treatment include getting regular exercise, avoiding smoking and not wearing tight fitting clothing around your midsection or wearing your belt too tight.
Acid Reflux Relief Tip #2: Make Dietary Changes
What you eat and how you eat can affect the likelihood of stomach acid backing up into the throat, causing irritation and damage. Larger meals take longer to digest and can often put extra pressure on the stomach. You can avoid this by eating five or six smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than eating three large meals.
Another tip is to eat your largest meal at lunchtime to avoid the potential hazards that come from lying down and resting in the evening after a large dinner. Also, remember to eat in an upright and relaxed position to avoid putting extra strain on your belly.
Certain foods and drinks can trigger the symptoms of acid reflux. Different people will react differently to these foods, so it is important to take the time to recognize the foods that affect you.
When you start to feel the symptoms of acid reflux, write down what you just ate and exactly how it’s affecting you (i.e. heartburn, upset stomach).
This will help you identify the specific foods that trigger your symptoms, and also highlight those that don’t.
Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux:
- Fried and fatty foods
- Spicy and heavily seasoned foods
- Onions and garlic
- Orange juice and tomato juice
- Peppermint and spearmint
Acid Reflux Relief Tip #3: Don’t Just Treat the Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Making lifestyle and diet changes will help you decrease the symptoms of acid reflux disease, but may not necessarily help you cure the underlying problem.
It is important to reverse the damage that has been done to the esophagus, as well as prevent future damage with healthy lifestyle changes.
The lining of the esophagus is not made to handle the acidity of stomach fluids. So when it is so frequently subjected to these acids, the esophagus can become irritated and eventually erode away, causing serious damage.
Damage to the esophagus often continues without healing because the symptoms are only treated, usually by the use of antacids.
Failing to treat an irritated and inflamed esophagus can lead to serious complications, like esophageal cancer.
Treatment of the damaged esophageal tissue can only be done by taking medications prescribed by a doctor, or in more severe cases by surgery.
Over-the-counter medications will only reduce the symptoms of acid reflux disease and do not present a cure.
If your acid reflux symptoms become chronic, contact your doctor so that he or she can determine whether or not there has been damage to the esophagus.
Your doctor can provide you with the proper medication to treat the disease, such as with proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers or promotility agents.
These medications can reduce the amount of acid that is produced and secreted in the stomach and heal the damage to the esophagus.
Remember, chronic acid reflux disease will not treat itself, which means that only you hold the key to recovery and permanent acid reflux relief.