Acid reflux disease, often called GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease), occurs when acid and other materials in the stomach “back up” into the esophagus, creating a painful, burning sensation and sometimes causing permanent damage to the lining of the esophagus as well. There are medications that can help ease the discomfort of acid reflux disease, but for maximum benefit, doctors also suggest lifestyle changes along with the use of medications. Some of these include:
For reasons not clearly understood, obese people tend to be more at risk for acid reflux disease than people who are of normal weight. Studies have shown that losing just 10% of your body weight can ease the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Abstention From Smoking And Drinking
Nicotine is thought to weaken the esophageal sphincter. The esophageal sphincter is a tough rim of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. When this muscle is weakened, it allows acid from the stomach to flow back into the lower part of the esophagus. Alcohol may also weaken the esophageal sphincter. It can also cause the stomach to produce excessive acid.
Staying Upright For At Least 45 Minutes After A Meal
Immediately after a meal, your stomach fills with acid as it works to digest the foods you have eaten. If you lie down during this time, the acid is likely to flow into your esophagus. If you sit or stand upright, however, gravity will help keep the acid in the stomach where it belongs.
Eat Several Small Meals A Day Instead Of Three Big Ones
The more food consumed, the more acid is needed to help digest it. Eating frequent small meals is much easier on your digestive system, and is therefore less likely to cause acid reflux disease.
Avoidance Of Clothing That Is Tight Around The Waist
Tight clothing forces food and acid up against the esophageal sphincter. If the sphincter is not working properly, it will allow this food to flow back into the esophagus with unpleasant results.
Avoidance Of Fast Foods
Most fast foods are high in fat. Fatty foods cause the stomach to produce more acid, which can lead to increased symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Taking Medications As Prescribed
If your doctor has given you medication for your acid reflux disease, take it exactly as prescribed. Many types of medication are to be taken at least daily, whether you are having symptoms or not. Stopping the medication suddenly is likely to lead to a sharp increase in symptoms. Talk to your doctor before you discontinue any medication for acid reflux disease.