For many acid reflux sufferers a visit to the doctors results in a prescription medication for acid reflux to treat the symptoms, however little is usually offered in the way of preventing or treating the underlying cause of why acid reflux developed in the first place.
Acid reflux medication can be very effective in dealing with symptoms however, it is usually only prescribed in short course of 4 –8 weeks. Unless the cause of the acid reflux is addressed it’s likely that there will be many more trips to the doctor in the future for a repeat prescription. Is this something you want to have to do over and over again as you go through life?
There are many people who have an aversion to taking any type of medication. Some won’t bother with a painkiller when they have a headache, and would rather let it go away on its own. Others fear what medications can do to their bodies in the long run and rarely think it is a good idea to take anything. For others, cost is an issue – repeat prescriptions can start to get rather costly. If the thought of being reliant on medication to control your acid reflux concerns you then you’ll have to find an alternative way of dealing with the issue.
If you really want to avoid taking prescription medication for acid reflux, making some simple lifestyle changes can successfully address the underlying cause of your condition. You may find it beneficial to take medication to get your reflux under control initially, especially if there is damage to the delicate esophagus lining, but implementing lifestyle changes at the same time means that you’re targeting the cause immediately.
If you are overweight, you should try to lose the excess weight. The extra weight can weigh heavily on your stomach and esophagus, especially when lying down. This can place excess pressure on the muscle at the top of the stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) that holds your stomach contents in, leaving it weakened and unable to close properly.
Plus, if you’re a smoker, you should aim to stop or at the very least cut down significantly as smoking also acts to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.
Diet also plays an important role when controlling acid reflux symptoms naturally. There are a number of common trigger foods that can bring on symptoms in most acid reflux sufferers including:
Fatty or fried foods
Spicy or rich foods
Fatty red meats
Tomatoes and tomato based sauces
Onion and garlic
When and how much you eat can also have an impact on your acid reflux symptoms and can be just as important as what you eat. Rather than having 3 large meals a day aim for 5 – 6 smaller meals and don’t rush your food. By eating smaller meals more frequently and chewing food thoroughly, you reduce the risk of developing acid reflux symptoms.
Eating your evening meal earlier can also help you avoid acid reflux or heartburn symptoms when you get into bed at night. Try to eat at least 3 hours before you go to bed to allow your food time to digest and leave your stomach.
Sleeping with the upper part of your torso elevated allows gravity to do its job and keep acid in your stomach where it belongs. Try this by either propping up your bed head with some bricks (making sure it’s sturdy) or through pillows – either purpose bought acid reflux pillows or by stacking ordinary pillows. Sleeping on your left-hand side can also help to reduce the risk of nighttime acid reflux.
These simple lifestyle steps can help you keep acid reflux at bay, however it’s important never to stop taking prescription medication for acid reflux without first consulting your physician.
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