Anyone can experience acid reflux, which happens when your lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t close all the way while you’re eating. As a result, stomach bile and gas can flow upward and cause heartburn, coughing, or the regurgitation of foul-tasting liquid.
A chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes recurrent acid reflux, which can have more of an impact on your life than you might anticipate. Not only does meal time become less enjoyable, but it can also be difficult to enjoy a good night’s sleep because of acid reflux.
Our dedicated gastroenterology team at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, and Highland, New York, are more than a little familiar with acid reflux and the troubles it causes. In addition to evaluating symptoms, we use upper endoscopy to examine the lower esophageal sphincter and confirm whether you have GERD.
In the meantime, you may be wondering how you can ease some of your symptoms without prescriptions or professional care. Below are some tips you can use to alleviate acid reflux at home.
1. Adjusting your diet
Adjusting your diet helps lower your chances of experiencing acid reflux. When you identify foods and beverages that trigger acid reflux, it becomes easier to exclude those items from your diet to avoid significant or bothersome symptoms.
A good starting point is to avoid or limit most foods that cause GERD to flare up, including:
- Deep-fried foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Spicy foods
- Fatty meats like sausage or bacon
- Tomato sauce
While managing acid reflux, it’s wise to build your diet around whole foods with little or no processing. You should include plenty of root veggies, green veggies, whole grains, and alkaline foods like bananas, cauliflower, or fennel.
2. Eating at a reasonable pace
With certain meals, it can be hard to contain yourself and eat slowly. Whether you’ve just finished some hiking on the Appalachian trail or arrived home after multiple flights and are ravenous, it’s essential to make your best effort at slowing down and enjoying your meal despite your hunger.
Eating a meal too quickly is a significant cause of acid reflux. You can avoid it by being mindful of every bite and savoring the flavors.
Similarly, eating too much can trigger acid reflux. Be mindful of how much you eat to control your portion sizes and avoid the discomfort of chest pain or burning.
3. Enjoy some sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum is a great hack for alleviating symptoms of acid reflux because the gum promotes increased saliva production. More saliva promotes swallowing, which helps keep acids and partially-digested foods down in your stomach where they belong.
4. Watch your position
If you lay down too quickly or move around a lot after you eat, your changes in position can kickstart acid reflux symptoms by causing the acid in your stomach to move around and flow into the lower esophagus.
Try to eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime and get your workout in before dinnertime. Otherwise, wait at least two hours before you exercise after a meal or snack.
It’s best to keep your head and chest elevated higher than your feet if you’re going to sleep with symptoms of acid reflux. Gravity works in your favor as your stomach acid struggles to flow upward while you’re resting in this position.
For more information on acid reflux remedies, contact Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division or schedule an appointment online today.