6 Ways to Relieve Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, or “GERD” (gastroesophageal reflux disease), affects millions of Americans. This condition has a range of symptoms, including a hoarse voice, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, frequent bouts of heartburn, or symptoms that mimic a heart attack.
The esophagus is the natural tube through which your food enters the stomach. At the bottom of the structure lies the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve, which should close the opening once the food enters the stomach. If this structure fails to fully close, the stomach acid rises in the esophagus, causing a set of painful, unpleasant, and frightening symptoms. If acid reflux is left untreated, the condition can lead to an esophageal ulcer, scar tissue formation, or unhealthy changes to the tissue lining of the of the esophagus.
If you struggle with chronic bouts of heartburn, you have natural ways to help reduce the symptoms. If you are unable to manage the condition by lifestyle changes, seek help from one of our doctors at Texas ENT Specialists.
1. Weight loss
Obesity could be the underlying cause of chronic acid reflux. Losing weight is often difficult, but when achieved, can significantly reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
2. Stop smoking
Smoking can affect the function of the “lower esophageal sphincter,” the muscle that works to stop stomach acid from entering the esophagus.
3. Cut back on fatty foods
Foods with a high fat content are harder to digest, and trigger higher production of stomach acids, and increased bouts of acid reflux.
4. Consume less caffeine and chocolate
We love coffee and chocolate, but the high acid content can affect the function of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), allowing stomach acid flow upward into the esophagus.
5. Limit food portions and eat slowly
When your stomach is overfull, you are more likely to experience the symptoms of acid reflux. Eating smaller portions, slowly, and eating more frequent meals can reduce acid reflux.
6. Sleep with your head and torso elevated
A foam wedge for sleeping can reduce the risk of acid reflux, as it is more difficult for the stomach acid to rise into the esophagus due to gravity.
Do you suffer from acid reflux?
Chronic acid reflux, if left untreated, can lead to very serious health conditions. It is advised that you have your condition evaluated by a specialist as soon as possible. The right diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and protect your system from damage
Risks and Concerns: Is acid reflux dangerous?
Acid reflux is not only painful, if untreated, can lead to profoundly serious health conditions, including tissue damage, or inflammation called esophagitis. When this condition develops, you may experience more extreme symptoms such as a hoarse speaking voice, a chronic sore throat, and more frequent heartburn. When stomach acid has entered the structure too often, it can damage the lining of the esophagus, causing an ulcer to develop. With time, your esophagus may become narrower, and food can get stuck, increasing the risk of choking, or affecting breathing, or causing pneumonia from the inhalation of stomach acid.
Don’t take chances with acid reflux – get diagnosed and treated.