- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
3 Ways to Treat Acid Reflux
It is estimated that 60 million adults in the United States suffer from acid reflux once a month. At least 2 million Americans are thought to suffer daily. Are you one of them?
According to medical experts, if acid reflux is experienced 2 to 3 times per week or more, treatment or lifestyle changes are necessary to limit the pain and discomfort and to avoid long term damage to your esophagus or other health complications.
What approach will you take to treat your acid reflux symptoms? It may be easier to begin with medicine, over the counter or perscription, but long term you may want to consider making lifestyle changes and commiting to a diet that will reduce your symptoms naturally, without any undesirable side effects.
Reduce symptoms of acid reflux by changing your diet.
As easy way to reduce acid reflux symptoms is by learning your food triggers and avoiding them as much as possible. Some of these foods are well known triggers, others may surprise you.
Foods that are common triggers of acid reflux:
- Fatty foods such as cheese, beef, avocado or nuts
- Spicy or acidic foods such as tomatoes, onions and garlic
- Caffeine such as coffee, soda and tea.
- Alcohol: a single glass of wine or a beer may not be a problem for most people, but if you combine it with a fatty, acidic or spicy meal, it will make acid reflux symptoms worse.
- Carbonated beverages
Unfortunately, most heavy meals can trigger reflux, especially if you eat late in the evening. Shedding a few extra pounds and chewing your food completely and slowly can help ease the pain.Consuming certain foods and supplements can help keep your symptoms to a minimum.
Foods that won't cause acid reflux:
- Low fat / reduced fat dairy and cheese
- High fiber foods such as beans, oatmeal and whole grains
- Fruits (non-acidic) and vegetables
- Ginger root supplements can help calm your stomach
Adopting a healthy low fat, high fiber diet will have many health benefits beyond reducing your acid reflux symptoms and is worth the effort of establishing new habits.
Lifestyle changes can help ease acid reflux symptoms.
As with many illnesses, stress is a major risk factor for acid reflux. Although there is not much evidence to support the idea that stress causes acid reflux, many patients report that their symptoms worsen when their stress levels increase.
To reduce your symptoms, take a long, honest look at your stress levels. Too high? How can you reduce your stress level and take better care of yourself?
- Make time to exercise. Take a long, brisk walk, or find a sport to play that will help you stay in shape.
- Try acupuncture to treat your symptoms and to help restore balance.
- Practice yoga. It will help relieve your stress, increase your flexibility and strength and teach you to relax your body through deep breathing exercises.
- Get a massage weekly or monthly to help manage your stress.
Medicine to stop acid reflux:
If you begin experiencing acid reflux / heartburn suddenly and frequently, see your physician before taking over the counter medications, particularly if you are experiencing any other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing. This is necessary to rule out any other possibly serious conditions.
Your doctor may prescribe a medication that can block and reduce stomach acid, called a PPI or proton pump inhibitor. Alternately, an over the counter medication may be suggested.