If you frequently feel the burning sensation in your chest that’s the hallmark sign of acid reflux, you need relief. If you experience these symptoms occasionally, you have gastroesophageal reflux. But, up to 20% of people in the United States experience acid reflux chronically and are diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Dr. Bharat Pothuri at GastroDoxs can help. He sees patients with acid reflux often and recommends at-home remedies to help relieve symptoms.
Why acid reflux happens
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid rises up out of your stomach back into your esophagus, the muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach.
The esophagus has a valve – called the esophageal sphincter – that, when relaxed, allows food to pass through to your stomach. It contracts to prevent food and stomach acid from flowing back up.
If the valve operates incorrectly, food travels back into your esophagus, causing acid reflux. You’ll experience burning in your chest, a bitter taste in your mouth, and uncomfortable sensations up toward your throat.
At-home remedies for acid reflux
Of course, chronic acid reflux can signal an underlying condition or be a side effect of certain medications. Usually, however, acid reflux is a result of lifestyle habits and diet.
Take these actions to help with acid reflux:
Avoid your trigger foods
Many people find that certain foods trigger acid reflux. The list of trigger foods is long and unique to you, but some common culprits include spicy foods, fried foods, and carbonated beverages.
Keep a diary to figure out which foods are triggers for you. Once you identify the foods, avoid them as much as possible.
Slow down and eat small meals
Manage your portion sizes and eat slowly. When you put a lot of food in your stomach quickly, it puts more pressure on the valve that releases acid back up in your chest and throat. Eat until you’re satisfied, but not stuffed. You may choose to have several small meals a day rather than two or three large meals.
Don’t eat before you lie down
When you lie down with a full stomach, it triggers acid reflux. Have your last meal of the day within three hours of bedtime so your stomach has time to digest the food. Avoid napping right after a meal; maybe take a walk instead.
Choose loose-fitting clothing
Tight belts and compressive clothing can put extra pressure on your belly, triggering acid reflux. Choose loose-fitting clothing to help you stay comfortable.
Sleep with your head lifted
Prop your head and chest higher than your feet when you sleep. Place a block under your bed posts or lodge a foam wedge under your mattress. Using pillows to prop up may actually make symptoms worse.
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re at an increased risk of GERD. We can help you lose weight with diet and exercise. Even a few pounds can help alleviate pressure on your stomach.
Treatment for acid reflux
If at-home strategies don’t give you much relief and you experience acid reflux frequently, come see a skilled gastroenterologist like Dr. Pothuri. Without treatment, GERD can lead to complications like esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and other health problems. Dr. Pothuri can help you with dietary changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgery or other medical interventions.
If you’re in the Greater Houston area, contact us to set up an evaluation. Call today or book an appointment online.