If you’ve experienced it, you know. The burning sensation in your stomach, chest or throat is acid reflux. Acid reflux is caused by acid rising from the stomach into the esophagus. Uncontrolled acid reflux is reflux two or more days a week or reflux that does not improve with over the counter medication. Most people living with acid reflux take a medication to control symptoms, either over the counter or prescription. Symptoms of reflux include the feeling of something stuck in the throat, dry cough, belching, hoarseness or burning in the chest.
While most people with reflux take medications, there are a lot of lifestyle changes that can help to control symptoms. Knowing and avoiding trigger foods is an important part of controlling your reflux. High acidic foods, like tomatoes, can worsen your symptoms. Other triggers can be fried and greasy foods, carbonated drinks, caffeine and beer. Foods that are more alkaline like celery, watermelon, ginger, oatmeal and spinach help to decrease the acidity level in the stomach and result in few symptoms. Other lifestyle changes include sleeping with the head of the bed elevated 30 degrees, sitting upright after eating while your food digests and eating smaller meals. Two big risk factors for acid reflux are smoking and obesity. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can majorly improve your symptoms.
Using lifestyle and dietary changes are a great way to control reflux symptoms, but if you are still symptomatic it is important to see your doctor. Reflux left untreated can lead to inflammation of the esophagus, bleeding, narrowing of the esophagus and can even put you at greater risk for cancer. Talk with one of the doctors at Associates in Digestive Health about your symptoms and treatments that may work best for you. We want you to live your most healthy life!