Perhaps you’ve said to yourself, “Oh, it’s just heartburn. It’ll eventually go away.”
Well, millions of people have said the exact same thing and now, they continue to suffer needlessly from severe heartburn and acidity.
What most folks call heartburn is actually a medical condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
This ailment is caused by excessive acidity in the stomach that creeps up towards the esophagus or the tube that connects the throat to the stomach, causing a burning sensation across one’s chest and the discomforts of bloating, nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Acid reflux symptoms can come at any given time, whether a person is generally healthy or not. The most common culprit behind this burning discomfort is having a diet that is high in acids. Excessive acidity in one’s diet can cause severe stomach pain.
When GERD becomes more serious, you also run the risk of destroying the lining of your esophagus and even the coating of your teeth. In worst case scenarios, conditions such as Barrett’s Esophagus and esophageal cancer can emerge. Clearly, one has to get appropriate advice and treatment from a doctor or health specialist.
What are some ways to reduce acid reflux symptoms or prevent GERD?
The first tip is to have a balanced diet that includes both acidic and non-acidic food. Non-acidic or alkaline foods help create the needed pH balance in your body. Carrots and bananas are some of the variety of alkaline foods available in the market. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water every day to wash down excess acids in your stomach and help promote good digestion and hydration. Water is very good in terms of diluting the acids and other substances that could cause pain and discomfort in the stomach.
When eating, you may choose to have several meals in a day albeit only in small portions. Eating big meals are known to cause indigestion and GERD… not to mention putting you at risk of obesity.
Another tip is to chew gum in-between meals. Chewing gum helps produce saliva, which in turn, helps wash away acid from the esophageal tube. As an alternative, you may also want to pop cough drops or an antacid or two to reduce acid production in your stomach.
It is also important not to head for the sack immediately after a hearty meal. Try to stand for a few minutes or better still, go for a walk to help stimulate digestion. Medical experts tell us that it is best to go to sleep at least four hours after your last meal. Going to bed with a full tummy not only spurs the onset of GERD, it also makes you lose sleep since your digestive system needs to work hard when you and the rest of your body’s organs are supposed to be resting.
Thankfully, GERD is a treatable condition. One must only remember to follow a good diet, have a healthy lifestyle, and if necessary, take doctor-prescribed medicines to get rid of heartburn and acidity.