10 Common Risk Factors for Acid Reflux
Many people assume that their acid reflux is unavoidable, but there are plenty of things which could be worsening your symptoms unnecessarily.
Acid reflux is a very common condition, affecting as many as one in five people. It occurs when the ring of muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus (known as the lower oesophageal sphincter) struggles to close completely. As a result, acid can leak up from the stomach into the throat, causing discomfort and even pain. Heartburn is one of the leading symptoms of the condition.
Anyone can suffer from acid reflux, and most of us probably will experience it at some point in our lives. However, there are several lifestyle habits and aspects that can significantly increase your chances of experiencing the condition, or make your existing symptoms even worse.
Understanding these risk factors is the first step to overcoming the condition entirely. With that in mind, here are 10 factors that can cause acid reflux.
Eating large meals
When eating large meals, your stomach stretches. This is what gives you that ‘stuffed’ feeling, but it also puts pressure on your lower oesophageal sphincter to keep everything down. Try to get into the habit of eating smaller meals more frequently.
Lying down after eating
Gravity has a part to play in acid reflux. Staying upright after eating gives your stomach the best chance of keeping all the acid down, so avoid lying down immediately after consuming a meal.
Being overweight or obese
Research has found that weight gain of 10 to 20 pounds can increase your risk of acid reflux threefold. The more weight you gain, the greater your risk becomes. Try to introduce healthier food options and a regular fitness regime into your routine, starting small and building it up over time. You can also find effective weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy.
Bending over at the waist after eating
Again, this has a lot to do with gravity. Try to avoid bending over when you still feel full, as this can literally squeeze stomach acid up into the throat.
Snacking before bed
Eating just before bed is particularly bad for acid reflux. Not only are you lying down, but you’re also increasing your risk of heartburn. Try to avoid eating three to four hours before bed, and when you do sleep, raise your chest and neck higher with pillows.
Indulging in certain foods
Certain foods are worse for acid reflux than others, particularly fatty foods and spicy foods. These create more stomach acid than others, making it more likely that some will leak upwards. Avoid citrus, chocolate, tomato, onions, cheese and garlic as much as possible.
Drinking certain beverages
Similarly, drinks like alcohol, carbonated drinks and coffee can all aggravate your acid reflux and cause heartburn, so avoid these where possible.
There are countless reasons to stop smoking, but one of the them is that nicotine consumption can loosen your lower oesophageal sphincter, making heartburn and acid reflux more likely.
Progesterone, the main hormone in pregnancy, slows your digestive system. This, along with the weight gain and stomach pressure associated with pregnancy, can all significantly increase your chances of experiencing acid reflux. This means that, if you are pregnant, it’s even more important to take precautions against the condition.
Taking certain painkillers and medications
Though we often rely on them as a quick-fix treatment, common painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen can actually make acid reflux worse. This is also true of certain muscle relaxers and blood pressure tablets.
What can you do?
Thankfully, effective acid reflux relief medication is available. Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Losec and many other options work by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces, therefore reducing the risk of acid leaking into the oesophagus. Each of these options have had their effectiveness and reliability proven. What’s more, they are all available from Express Pharmacy.
For more information, don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0208 123 07 03. Alternatively, you can get in touch via our discreet Live Chat service.