Acid Reflux Basics
Acid reflux is a condition characterized by heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms. Although the exact cause of acid reflux is not known, there seems to be a link between its symptoms and a person’s diet. Acid reflux happens during the digestive process. There is a valve between the esophagus and stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter. This valve opens when food is swallowed to allow it to enter the stomach. In optimal conditions, it also keeps stomach acid from refluxing back into the esophagus. Occasionally, the lower esophageal sphincter will open during times when it should be open. This allows stomach acid to reflux, causing the uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptom known as heartburn.
Treatment of acid reflux is diverse. Treatments range from chemically-assisted remedies such as medication or drugs to more natural alternatives. A very popular treatment is a change in diet. Foods high in acidic content can make acid reflux symptoms worse. Reducing your intake of these foods can help. Fried foods can trigger a reflux response as well. Many people embark on a high-protein diet to help with their heartburn.
Certain lifestyle changes can help with acid reflux. For example, tight clothing can present problems. Furthermore, anything that puts pressure on your abdominal area can trigger reflux. Taking a yoga class can help with symptoms. Yoga helps improve your posture, helping you remain upright. It also helps you to relax, as stress is a reflux contributor.
If you’re used to snacking before bedtime, or having a midnight snack in between dreams, you might need to change your routine. Eating within two hours of bedtime or lying down can trigger heartburn. The food sitting in your stomach will put pressure in the gastric area. You should allow at least 2 hours between eating and lying down letting your digestive process run its course. A good way to control your eating is to divide your meals into smaller portions to eat throughout the day, instead of eating three large meals. Splitting meals into 5 or 6 sittings keeps allows your stomach to digest more efficiently.
Keeping a food diary is one of the best ways to determine what causes your heartburn. Log all of your food intake every day for two or three weeks. Also, make notes each day describing how you’re feeling. You might discover a correlation between certain foods you eat and heartburn symptoms. Not all foods on popular “forbidden” lists will cause heartburn, since different people react to different food.
The best course of action for treating acid reflux can be a combination of different methods. Diet alone might not relieve your symptoms completely. You may need to add an exercise program, as well as a drug or medication regimen. Before undergoing any sort of therapy, consult your physician.