Acid Reflux Medicines – Tips Now
Every day, millions of men and women suffer from acid reflux, also commonly called “heartburn,” a condition that occurs when stomach acid flows upward, through the esophagus and often into the throat. In most individuals, this causes pain and burning in the upper abdomen and chest, while others may experience more serious symptoms, including hoarseness, sore throat, and even respiratory problems, which can occur when the stomach acid is aspirated, or inhaled, into the upper airway, bronchial tubes, or lungs.
Today, there are many preparations available at your local pharmacy which can help you deal with the symptoms of acid reflux, and still more available by prescription. But there are many other things you can do to help prevent the onset of symptoms, and to relieve symptoms when they occur.
- Eat smaller meals:Acid reflux is more likely to occur when the stomach is over-full and pressure builds up behind the lower esophageal valve, or sphincter, causing it to allow acid to leave the stomach and move up into the esophagus and throat. By eating smaller meals more frequently, the stomach is not stressed and the pressure on the lower esophageal valve is decreased. Eating meals more frequently also means the stomach is more active over a longer period of time, which results in quicker digestion. And, quicker digestion means there is less time for acid to remain in the stomach, and less risk for that aid to be refluxed.
- Drink lots of water:Water aids in digestion and helps clear the esophagus and the stomach of acid.
- Know which foods are likely to cause heartburn and avoid them. Similarly, know which foods may cause heartburn and limit them. Center your diet around foods that are least likely to cause heartburn.
- Follow the same dietary guidelines as described in the previous tip while eating at restaurants, traveling, or at social functions.
- Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated at a 30-degree angle. This allows gravity to help keep stomach acid where it belongs – in the stomach. Some experts also recommend sleeping on your left side, since anatomically this places your stomach naturally below the lower esophageal sphincter, making it less likely for acid to flow beyond the valve.
- Don’t eat during the two-hour period before going to bed. Going to bed on an empty stomach sounds like a punishment from a children’s story, but in reality, making sure your stomach is clear, or nearly clear, of food before lying down will help prevent acid from refluxing during the night.
- Quit smoking:Smoking has been linked to acid reflux, and is thought to cause the condition to occur by stimulating the production of stomach acid and by decreasing essential enzymes in the saliva, making digestion more difficult. Smoking also increases your risk of cancer, and because chronic acid reflux can also lead to the development of esophageal cancer in some individuals, quitting smoking can decrease your risks of cancer in two ways.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol contains carbohydrates, which cause the stomach to produce additional acid for digestion. In addition, alcohol can also cause a decrease in the helpful enzymes which aid in digestion, and can cause muscle action to decrease, both of which lead to a slow-down in the digestive process. When digestion is slowed, acid remains in the stomach for a longer period of time, and often results in acid reflux.
- Lose weight:Excess weight compresses the stomach, forcing acid backward through the lower esophageal sphincter. Even a 10 percent weight loss can significantly reduce acid reflux symptoms.
- Manage your stress:Stress slows digestion, which can cause an increase in acid reflux symptoms.
- Get regular – but gentle – exercise:Exercise helps with weight loss and stress management. Avoid high-impact aerobic activities, like jogging or jumping jacks, which can cause acid to reflux into the esophagus. Also avoid sit-ups and crunches that put stress on the stomach area.
- Keep an acid reflux diary. By keeping track of which foods and other lifestyle factors cause your acid reflux to flare up, you’ll be better able to manage your own, individual symptoms.