The symptoms of acid reflux can range from mild to severe. You may have tried several over-the-counter products, but you might not know that there are other ways to stop these symptoms.
At Imperial Digestive Health Specialists, our team, led by board-certified Oforbuike Ewelukwa, MD, MSc, knows how to help you combat acid reflux.
Here’s some helpful information on what causes this discomfort and what you can do about it.
Acid reflux explained
Your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a muscle that tightens your esophagus after food passes through to your stomach. If it doesn’t function properly, the acid in your stomach can move back up into your esophagus, causing symptoms such as:
- Burning sensation that can move from your stomach up to your breastbone
- Sore throat
- Foul taste in the back of your throat
- Unstoppable hiccups
How to combat acid reflux
Aside from over-the-counter medications, you can also make lifestyle changes to help avoid symptoms of acid reflux. Here’s what you can do:
1. Watch what you eat
Overeating can intensify your acid reflux. Keep food portions small and space meals out throughout the day. You should also modify the types of food you eat. To avoid triggers, stay away from spicy, acidic, and citrusy foods, plus drinks that have caffeine.
2. Limit your alcohol
Drinking alcohol in excess can increase your stomach acid and intensify your acid reflux. Monitoring how much alcohol you have can help you manage the causes and intensity of your condition.
3. Quit smoking
Studies show a close link between smoking and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a more severe form of acid reflux. Nicotine can relax the valve between your esophagus and stomach, which can cause acid to back up into your esophagus.
4. Get your weight within a healthy range
Did you know that excessive belly fat can cause acid reflux? The extra fat can squeeze your stomach and cause fluid to travel up into your esophagus.
The additional pressure also makes your sphincter relax, which allows more stomach acid into your esophagus. Being overweight inhibits your body from emptying your stomach contents efficiently, too.
5. Elevate your head when sleeping
Studies have shown that when you sleep with your head in a slightly higher position than the rest of your body, you can experience reduced symptoms of acid reflux.
6. Use medications
If lifestyle changes don’t reduce your acid reflux symptoms, you may need certain medications to relieve your symptoms. We can prescribe H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors to effectively reduce your stomach acidity.
If you suffer from acid reflux, contact our team at Imperial Digestive Health Specialists to learn more about how to get relief. Call our friendly office staff today at 281-397-3499, or text us at 832-639-5725 for an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.