Acid Reflux Treatment Phase 1 - Lifestyle Changes

In general, Acid Reflux treatment can fall into one of three categories, Lifestyle Changes, Medications and Surgery. Your doctor will most likely suggest lifestyle changes first, before considering any medications. In most acid reflux diseases, adopting lifestyle changes as a natural cure may be enough to control the pain and discomfort of acid reflux. Here we look at the lifestyle changes that can be relieved to acid reflux without spending your hard-earned money on drugs.

15 Lifestyle Changes Treatmen To GERD

Reflux of acid is more injurious at night than during the day. Nearly eight in ten heartburn sufferers experience symptoms and severe pain at night. The reason that it is easier is because gravity is not opposing the reflux, as it does in the upright position during the day. The lack of an effect of gravity allows the refluxed liquid to travel further up the esophagus and remain in the esophagus longer. So it is very important to take preventative measures before going to sleep.

Acid Reflux Treatment Phase 1 - Lifestyle Changes

1. Elevation Of The Upper Body

The elevation is accomplished either by putting blocks under the bed's feet at the head of the bed or, by sleeping with the upper body on a wedge. These maneuvers raise the esophagus above the stomach and partially restore the effects of gravity. It is important that the upper body and not just the head be elevated. Elevating only the head does not raise the esophagus and fails to restore the effects of gravity. Don't use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You will only put your head at an angle that can increase pressure on your stomach and make your heartburn worse.

Elevation of the upper body at night generally is recommended for all patients with GERD. Nevertheless, most patients with GERD have reflux only during the day and elevation at night is of little benefit for them. It is not possible to know for certain which patients will benefit from elevation at night unless acid testing clearly demonstrates night reflux. However, patients who have heartburn, regurgitation, or other symptoms of GERD at night are probably experiencing reflux at night and definitely should use upper body elevation.

2. Lying On The Left Side

When going to bed, try lying on the left side rather than on the right. The stomach is located higher than the esophagus when a person sleeps on the right side, which can put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter , increasing the risk for fluid back-up.

3. Eat At Least 2-3 Hours Before Lying

This way your stomach won't still be working on that big meal when you go to bed. Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that keeps food in the stomach. If foods reflux up through the LES, heartburn is the result. Avoid foods that known to lead to heartburn at dinner, such as spicy foods, coffee, citrus fruit and juices.

4. After Meals, Take A Walk Or, At The Very Least, Remain Upright.

5. Take An Antacid When Heartburn Hits

Antacids will work very quickly on heartburn you may be experiencing before you go to bed. It also can be used for those heartburn episodes that wake you up during the night if the heartburn comes back. An H2 blocker will work for a longer period of time, usually up to 12 hours. Another option is to combine the two. You should discuss this with your physician to determine what is the best treatment for you.

6. Smaller, More Frequent Meals

First, the smaller meal results in lesser distention of the stomach. Second, by bedtime, a smaller and earlier meal is more likely to have emptied from the stomach than is a larger one. Reflux is less likely to occur when patients with GERD lie down.

7. Reduce To Caffeine -

Caffeinated increase acid secretion, also including chocolate, peppermint, spearmint.

8. Quit Smoking -

The chemicals in cigarette smoke weaken the LES as they pass from the lungs into the blood.

9. Reduce Alcohol Intake

Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. It also increases the production of stomach acid. If you want to consume alcohol, follow these tips: Dilute alcoholic beverages with water or club soda, drink moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages -- the suggested amounts are 1-2 mixed drinks, 12-16 ounces of wine, or 2-3 beers, drink white wine instead of red, choose non-alcoholic beer or wine whenever you can.

10. Avoid Foods That Cause Heartburn

Avoid foods that cause heartburn by delaying gastric emptying, such as chocolate, onions, spearmint, peppermint, fat, garlic.
Patients should have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. However, Patients need to avoid acidic vegetables and fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapple, tomatoes.

11. Reduce Saturated Fat Intake

Although physicians often advise patients with GERD to cut down on fatty foods, studies are finding no evidence that a low-fat or high-fat meal make any difference in symptom exacerbation. Better studies are needed to confirm this. In any case, as a rule, it is always wise to avoid saturated fats (which are from animal products), and cut down on all fats if one is overweight.

12. Obtain Ideal Weight -

Obesity increases abdominal pressure, which can push stomach contents up into the esophagus.

13. Avoid Tight Fitting Clothes Around The Waist

Clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen will squeeze the stomach, forcing food up against the LES, and cause food to reflux into the exophagus. Clothing that can cause problems include tight-fitting belts and slenderizing undergarments.

Acid Reflux Treatment Phase 1 - Lifestyle Changes

14. Chewing Gum

One novel approach to the treatment of GERD is chewing gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of more bicarbonate-containing saliva and increases the rate of swallowing. After the saliva is swallowed, it neutralizes acid in the esophagus. In effect, chewing gum exaggerates the normal process that neutralizes acid in the esophagus. It is not clear, however, how effective chewing gum actually is in treating heartburn. Nevertheless, chewing gum after meals is certainly worth a try.

15. Avoid Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

If possible, GERD patients should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), or naproxen (Aleve), among others. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a good alternative pain reliever.

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