Gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD or acid reflux, is becoming more common, especially in younger individuals. In fact, over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of younger patients with GERD, especially those between the ages of 30-39.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
If you have GERD, you may experience:
- A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn)
- Upper abdominal or chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Chronic cough
- Feeling like you have a lump in your throat
- Sour taste in your mouth
If you’re dealing with symptoms more than twice a week, try making certain lifestyle changes to help find relief.
Change Your Diet
What you eat can have a huge effect on your acid reflux symptoms. Foods that are fried or high in fat, spicy foods, citrusy fruits, chocolate and mint are all known to be reflux triggers. Try eliminating these from your diet at least temporarily to see if you experience fewer symptoms. Other people have found success adopting a low-carb diet. However, you speak with your doctor before doing so.
When it comes to what foods you can eat, consider stocking up on leafy greens, lean protein, whole grains and non-citrusy fruits the next time you’re at Ream’s Food Stores.
Cut Back on Your Coffee Intake
If you love your morning coffee, this one might hurt. However, coffee and caffeine can both potentially relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which increases the risk of reflux.
Some people with GERD find that coffee doesn’t trigger their symptoms, but it’s wise to experiment with either removing it or cutting back your intake to see whether or not it has any impact.
Focus On Eating Smaller Meals More Slowly
When it comes to acid reflux, it’s not just what you eat it’s how you eat it. The fuller your stomach is, the more likely it is for stomach acid to get into the esophagus. Consider eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
It’s also beneficial to eat slower. Try putting your fork down after every bite and chew your food thoroughly.
Take Steps To Avoid Acid Reflux at Night
Acid reflux at night can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. To avoid this, you can take the following steps:
- Eat dinner earlier to avoid going to bed with a full stomach
- Stay upright for at least three hours after eating
- Elevate the head of your bed
- Try to sleep on your left side
If after making these changes you still find yourself experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, medication or other treatments may be needed.
To make an appointment with one of our experts, call South Valley Ear Nose & Throat today.