Around 60 million Americans suffer from acid reflux also commonly known as heart burn. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter malfunctions and stomach acids travel back up instead of going down. You’ll know if it’s happening to you if you experience a burning sensation in your chest and the taste of bile in your mouth. It can even be coupled with nausea.
Although the effects of acid reflux are short-term, they can be harmful over a long period. The esophagus lining can be permanently damaged in severe cases. It also becomes an annoying part of life decreasing the quality of one’s day. For this reason it’s important to get your acid reflux under control and/or prevent it.
The solution to handling acid reflux can vary from person to person. It can also be comprehensive meaning you must combine several different treatments to contain it. Below are a few that may help you.
* Eat Slowly. Shoveling your food down can increase the amount of acid in your stomach. So in order to decrease the chance of it splashing back up into your esophagus, it’s important to eat slowly and allow your food to properly digest.
* Avoid fizzy drinks. Sodas and even plain seltzer water raises your risk of night time acid reflux. The gas from fizzy drinks actually can rise up the stomach causing your esophageal sphincter muscle to open. So you should focus on drinking water and other non-carbonated drinks.
* Use the three- hour rule. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach. You should wait until three hours after your last meal to hit the sack. This will decrease your chances of heart burn because the sphincter muscle will be closed and acids in the stomach will less likely back up.
* Sleep on the left side of your body. Sleeping on your left side will allow stomach acid to empty faster.
* Sleep with a raised head. Sleep with a foam wedge pillow that keeps the head elevated about six inches. Acids won’t travel back up your esophagus if your head is raised up.
* Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking can increase your risk of acid relfux. As a result, you want to do it in moderation.
* Check your current prescriptions. If you regularly take Valium, Xanax or any other type of tranquilizer, you are a a higher risk of developing acid reflux. These drugs are linked to heart burn and other harmful side-effects. Ask your doctor for an alternative medication like Rozerem or Lunesta which aren’t linked to acid reflux.
* Avoid Smoking. Cigarettes not only cause cancer, but also help develop acid reflux. You know it’s a bad habit anyway, so it’s time to quit.
* Lose Weight. The additional pressure on your stomach will help acid travel back up your esophagus. So, the loss of even 15 pounds can help reduce your acid reflux.
In conclusion, acid reflux is a nagging problem that can be prevented or reduced with a comprehensive health regimen. Usually, the combination of changes in your lifestyle can help any sufferer find a cure with much success.