Acid reflux leaves a burning sensation in your chest when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The lower esophageal sphincter allows food down to the stomach and closes to prevent stomach contents from flowing back to the esophagus. However, when the LES muscles are weak, it is easier for food and acids to move back to the throat, causing a burning sensation that can last for a few minutes to several hours.
Even though acid reflux is a common phenomenon, certain foods, and factors increase your likelihood of getting the reflux. These may include; citrus fruits, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, alcohol, smoking, and stress. Fortunately, Anchorage Pioneer GI Clinic makes uncomfortable acid refluxes a thing of the past.
Moreover, with a few diet and lifestyle changes, you will be able to prevent future episodes and development of a chronic acid reflux disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). All you must do is;
- Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods increase your acid reflux. By identifying what foods trigger your reflux, you will be able to keep them off your diet. Keeping a food journal will also help avoid the foods when possible.
- Eat Sparingly and Slowly
When you are full, you are more likely to experience acid reflux to the esophagus. If your schedule allows it, it is advisable to eat sparingly, small meals more frequently. Moreover, you have to eat slowly by increasing your chewing time. Quick chewing can result in indigestion which may trigger acid reflux.
- Avoid Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks make you burp, an action that sends acids to your esophagus. Make it a habit to drink water, which is more thirst-quenching than sodas or other beverages.
- Adjust your Sleeping Position
As you sleep, ensure that your head is 6-8 inches higher than your feet. Your upper body elevation prevents acid reflux to your esophagus, helping you get quality relaxation. You can achieve this with foam wedge support or by raising the bedposts using wood blocks. You should, however, avoid using pillows as they are ineffective and won’t provide even support. Moreover, sleeping on your left side has proven to improve digestion and may prevent acid reflux.
- Lose weight
If you are overweight, work towards attaining a healthy weight. Excess weight exerts extra pressure on your stomach, reducing its ability to hold food and acids down. By this, the LES loosens and allows stomach acid back up the esophagus. Losing excess weight is a move that requires you to be intentional and cautious about what you eat and how you live. Ensure that you incorporate physical exercises and a well-balanced diet into your daily routines.
If the acid reflux is mild and occasional, little adjustments in your routine can help manage the situation. However, if the refluxes are persistent and occur at least twice a week, you need to consult your doctor for a more integrated approach. If your condition is severe and is left untreated, it may worsen and could lead to a chronic condition that scars the lining of your esophagus, causing GERD or Barrett’s esophagus.