It is thought that 60% of the adult population suffer from some form of acid reflux over a twelve-month period. So, what can be done about it?
Acid reflux – or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to give it its medical name – is a condition that affects millions of people. At some point, we probably all have a bout of acid reflux, however mild, but for some people it can be uncomfortable and debilitating to their daily life.
The main symptom of the condition is acid leaking up from the stomach and into the oesophagus, due to the lower oesophageal sphincter being too relaxed. It’s nasty and sometimes painful, but don’t worry – Express Pharmacy is here with ten easy at-home methods for treating your acid reflux.
Go gluten free
Some studies have found that gluten – commonly found in rye, barley and wheat – can increase symptoms of acid reflux, so it’s worth considering a gluten-free diet.
Wear loose clothing
Tight jeans, clinging dresses and belts that cut into your stomach can all exacerbate GERD, and create further discomfort. Stick to looser clothing and slightly larger waistlines to take some of the pressure off, even if it’s just on days when you’re lounging around the house.
Cut down on alcohol
Drinking alcohol can relax oesophageal muscles further and even cause them to spasm, so cutting down on your drinking – or better yet, giving up altogether – is an effective way of lessening your symptoms and making you feel more comfortable.
Smoking is a double threat to acid reflux, as studies have found that smoking both increases the relaxed state of your oesophageal muscles and inhibits your saliva’s ability to clear out excess acid from your throat.
Elevate your bed
When dealing with acid reflux, it’s helpful to use gravity to your advantage in order to keep stomach acids where they belong – in your stomach. This is true of the time you spend asleep as well as awake. Elevating the head of your bed six to eight inches keeps stomach acids down, and prevents symptoms from showing themselves. Your entire upper body needs to be raised for this to work, so extra pillows alone probably won’t have the desired effect.
Wait after meals
Speaking of gravity, it’s important to wait before you lie down if you’ve recently eaten a large meal. At least three hours should have gone by since your last meal before you take up a horizontal position in bed or on the sofa. This means planning ahead and eating your dinner with enough time before you go to sleep.
Eat smaller dishes
Eating little and often is an effective way of managing acid reflux. Avoid infrequent large meals and opt for smaller plates of food instead.
Avoid danger foods
Spicy food, fatty food, chocolate, coffee and mints can all increase symptoms of acid reflux, so try to avoid them. You might find this hard, but with 60% of acid reflux sufferers reporting bad sleep quality, and 40% reporting a lower quality of work concentration, surely it’s worth it.
Acid reflux is often more severe in overweight individuals, so eating right and exercising can do wonders for keeping your symptoms at bay.