Lifestyle changes are always worth trying before you resort to medications to control acid or gastroesophageal reflux. Because sometimes, we find it challenging to detect acid reflux and continue feeding ourselves over-the-counter meds to feel relieved. Such as if you have a sore throat or you catch flu and cold often, it might not be the virus but an issue with your lower esophageal sphincter.
This muscle controls the path between the stomach and esophagus. So if it isn’t closed correctly, stomach acids and even food can flow back into the esophagus. That’s what we call gastroesophageal reflux. If the fluids flow backward, it is called acid reflux. Acid reflux can cause hoarseness and sore throats, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) occurs when acid reflux symptoms get chronic. Here are nine ways to avoid acid reflux without taking any medications or going to the doctor.
Be a Frugal Eater
If your stomach is full, there will naturally be more reflux into the esophagus than it usually has. So, if you can include Grazing into your diet regimen, it would be the most helpful strategy to prevent acid reflux and treat it without any medication. Grazing is a term used for eating frequent but smaller meals instead of sticking to the traditional method of eating three large meals a day.
Avoid Foods that Trigger Reflux
it is a general perception that people experiencing acid reflux should stick to bland foods and eliminate everything else. That’s just a misconception. People with reflux can eat everything, but it would be best to avoid certain foods or meals prepared with those foods. These include spicy and fatty foods, mint, tomatoes, garlic, onions, coffee and tea, chocolate, and alcohol. These foods tend to trigger reflux because of their high fat or acid content. If any or all of these foods are a part of your daily diet, it is about time you eliminate them and note if it has any positive impact on your reflux. You can try adding them back but slowly and gradually.
Avoid Carbonated Drinks
As we mentioned earlier in this article, carbonated and fizzy drinks can trigger reflux by causing us to burp. Burping is responsible for sending acid into the esophagus, and even soda and sparkling water can cause reflux. The safest drink for those suffering from acid reflux is plain water.
Don’t Sleep Soon After Eating
There is a reason why medical experts request people to eat dinner at least three hours before hitting the bed. It is essential to stay up for a couple of hours and keep your body moving because gravity helps keep the stomach acids at their proper place and prevents them from moving back to the esophagus. Avoid napping after lunch, midnight snacks, and late suppers.
No Rigorous Exercise After Meals
You must avoid performing rigorous and intense workouts soon after eating a meal and even a few hours afterward. However, this rule implies strenuous exercises only, particularly those requiring you to bend over as it can cause acid to go back to the esophagus. Taking a stroll after dinner is fine.
Sleep in an Inclining Posture
An ideal sleep posture for those suffering from acid reflux is where the head is around 6 to 8 inches higher than the feet. You can quickly achieve this by using extra-ball bed risers on the legs to support the head of your bed. If your spouse or partner objects to this arrangement, you can use a foam wedge instead to support your upper body. However, don’t stack pillows to create a wedge because it won’t create uniform support, which is necessary for this posture.
Try Shedding a Few Pounds
If your nutritionist or doctor has advised it and regarded it safe, you should lose weight to avoid acid reflux. In overweight individuals, excessive weight spreads the muscular structure supporting the lower esophageal sphincter. Due to this, the pressure required to hold the sphincter closed decreases, leading to heartburn and acid reflux.
Smoking is harmful to health, and there’s no doubt about that. But its impact could be worse if you have acid reflux because nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter.
Inspect Your Medicines
Certain medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants, postmenopausal estrogen, and anti-inflammatory painkillers, can relax the sphincter. Moreover, medications used to increase bone density, including alendronate/Fosamax, risedronate/Actonel, and ibandronate/Boniva, can irritate the esophagus.
Source: Harvard Health: www.health.harvard.edu/digestive-health/9-ways-to-relieve-acid-reflux-without-medication