Heartburn, or acid reflux, causes an uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest, especially after eating a rich meal. 20% of people in the United States have chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Acid reflux results when the esophageal valve fails. The valve keeps stomach acid where it’s supposed to be — in your stomach to assist with digestion. But, when the valve fails, stomach acid rises back up into your esophagus, causing the burning and regurgitation of sour liquid associated with reflux.
Acid reflux and GERD can often be managed at home with medications and lifestyle strategies. At Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, in Jackson, Mississippi, the providers suggest the following at-home remedies. If these fail, you may qualify for more comprehensive treatment, including surgery.
Avoid trigger foods
Not everyone has the same list of foods that trigger acid reflux. But, many people find that spicy foods, fried foods, chocolate, and carbonated beverages are especially bothersome.
For a week, maintain a diary of what you eat and how you feel afterward. That will help you identify problematic foods.
Even losing just a few pounds can help reduce pressure on your stomach that triggers GERD. If you’re struggling with weight challenges, talk to us about how you can lose weight and keep it off.
Putting too much food in your stomach quickly puts pressure on the esophageal valve. Slow down, chew thoroughly, and stop before you’re stuffed.
Shrink your meal sizes
Many people with acid reflux successfully reduce the severity of their symptoms when they eat smaller meals more frequently. You can eat the same amount of food you do now, but break it up into mini meals rather than 2-3 large portions.
Don’t lie down after you eat
Lying down shortly after a meal aggravates acid reflux. Plan to eat at least three hours before bedtime and avoid napping after large meals — even on Thanksgiving Day! Walking after a meal helps.
Wear comfortable clothing
Loose-fitting clothing helps you stay comfortable and prevents excess pressure on your belly. Tight belts or shapewear can trigger acid reflux.
Prop up your head while you sleep
Don’t use pillows to prop up your head — that can worsen reflux symptoms. But, placing something under your bed posts or inserting a wedge under your mattress to prop up your head while you sleep can alleviate symptoms.
Medical treatment for acid reflux
When these expert recommendations don’t bring you relief, our surgical team can help. We offer dietary guidance, prescription medications, and surgery options.
Keep your acid reflux under control to avoid complications. Call Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, today, or use the online tool to set up your consultation.