Acid Reflux Treatment Comes In A Number Of Forms
Although no direct link has been proven, stress appears to be a major contributor to the occurrence of acid reflux. Stress can cause us to eat foods we should otherwise avoid, to smoke or drink alcohol, and can also slow the digestive process, meaning acid remains in the stomach for a longer period of time. Recognizing – and then avoiding or eliminating – your personal stress triggers is an important step toward managing your acid reflux. Yoga, meditation, and regular exercise are excellent steps in reducing stress. Like any other condition related to stress management, it’s important not to overload your calendar and to make time in each day to relax.
Obesity is another major factor that can contribute to acid reflux. When the stomach is compressed, by clothing or fatty tissue, digestion may be impeded and acid may be forced upward into the esophagus, and even into the throat. If you’re overweight, exercise and diet need to be a part of your acid reflux solution.
Other major lifestyle contributors to acid reflux are drinking alcohol and smoking. Both activities cause an increase in stomach acid, and smoking can further erode airways, which may also be stressed as a result of aspirated stomach fluid.
Most acid reflux flare-ups are directly related to the foods or beverages that are consumed prior to the flare-up. Different individuals may be affected by different foods. Keeping an acid reflux diary or journal is a great way to keep track of which foods cause your acid reflux to occur. There are certain foods which may cause flare-ups in most individuals. Whenever possible, these foods should be eliminated from your diet. Most of these foods are pretty easy to spot: any food that is deep-fried or has a high fat content – including dairy products – should be avoided entirely.
Others are not so obvious. Still other foods and beverages may be consumed – but only in moderation. Generally, these include many low-fat products, as well as certain fruits and vegetables. Alcohol is also a prime cause of acid reflux.
While it’s important to know which foods are likely to cause heartburn, as well as those which may cause heartburn, it’s also important to take a look at your overall eating habits. Acid reflux is most likely to occur when the stomach is very full, and stomach contents press upward on the upper portion of the stomach, forcing stomach acid up through the lower esophageal valve. Therefore, it’s best to eat small, frequent meals, rather than a few large meals.When you eat is also important. Nighttime snacking should be avoided. Generally, you should not eat within two to three hours of your bedtime, since stomach acid is more likely to reflux when the body is in a horizontal position. For the same reason, it’s important to eat while sitting upright, and not while slouched in front of the television.
OTC and prescription meds
The past decade has seen an explosion of acid reflux medications, both in prescription and over-the-counter formulation. Antacids, acid blockers, and proton pump inhibitors may all play a role in the management of your acid reflux.
When medications and other remedies don’t provide prolonged relief, your physician may recommend surgery to control your acid reflux. Most surgeries are noninvasive, and are performed on an outpatient basis, requiring no general anesthesia. Surgical treatments usually involve procedures to strengthen the lower esophageal valve or to help tighten the valve, helping to prevent the escape of stomach acid into the esophagus.
In addition to meditation and yoga, other natural modalities for the treatment of acid reflux include use of products, like baking soda and apple cider vinegar – and even pickle juice – to control symptoms of acid reflux. While many of these remedies are effective in some individuals, your results will vary. Additionally, any herbal product should be discussed with your pharmacists or doctor, as many of these seemingly harmless plants and plant Apr’s can actually have potentially serious – and even fatal – interactions with prescription and over-the-counter drugs.