Acid reflux, otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD), is a chronic condition that varies in severity. It can cause a range of symptoms including heartburn, chest pain, nausea, and even coughing. Depending on the extent of your condition, it can interfere with your daily life. There are so many causes and contributing factors for GERD that it can be difficult to narrow down exactly what’s causing yours. Some contributing factors include stress, hiatal hernia, drinking, smoking, pregnancy, being overweight, and eating heavy or spicy foods. Because so many people suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disorder, it’s important to know how to manage it:
Antacids are used to help neutralize acid in the stomach. There are a lot of different kinds to help manage acid reflux symptoms. Some are designed to provide immediate relief from symptoms whereas others can be taken before meals to prevent symptoms all day.
2. Eat smaller meals
It’s not just eating small meals, but eating regularly. It’s better to eat five or six small meals every day instead of a few larger ones. Keeping your body on a schedule will reduce symptoms and ensure that your stomach has something to digest. An empty stomach can worsen GERD symptoms just as much as an overfull one.
3. Form healthy habits
If you drink or smoke, these things make acid reflux worse. Take the steps you need to quit, and you’ll probably notice a big difference in how you feel. Fitting in some daily exercise can help symptoms, too, and reduce certain contributing factors like being overweight.
4. Drink water
Hydration is one of the most important parts of staying healthy, and water specifically can help dilute your stomach acid and stop the burning sensation. Other beverages can work, too, but make sure you’re not drinking soda or acidic juices, since that will have the opposite effect.
5. Avoid trigger foods
Generally, acid reflux symptoms are worse when you eat certain foods. These foods vary from person to person, but in general, it’s best to avoid anything too acidic or heavy. Some of these foods include tomatoes, onions and garlic, chocolate, citrus fruits, and dairy. If you notice that a certain food or drink triggers your symptoms, try to avoid it.
6. Natural treatments
There are some kinds of tea and herbs that can help manage symptoms. Ginger can help reduce nausea and reflux symptoms, and chamomile is known to help stomach muscles relax. Avoid peppermint, though. While it can help nausea, it also relaxes the sphincter muscle that keeps acid in your stomach. Apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of warm water can also help balance your stomach acid.
7. Relaxation techniques
Stress is a huge factor in acid reflux symptoms. If you can find time in your day for meditation, yoga, even just sitting on the couch with your eyes closed, it can reduce your stress and your symptoms. Do whatever helps you relax and get comfortable.
It may take some trial and error before you figure out what helps you. It’s a good idea to write down your symptoms and when they occur, as that will help you understand what triggers them and in turn how to improve them.