Natural Remedies & Treatments For Acid Reflux | Natural Remedy For GERD

Preventing Acid Reflux: The RIGHT Way

Preventing acid reflux is easier, safer, and far cheaper than treating it. This very common condition occurs when the sphincter that serves as a barrier between the esophagus and stomach relaxes permitting the corrosive stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus. Normally, other factors counteract the tendency of stomach contents regurgitating into the esophagus. First of all, the peristaltic motion of the esophagus propels the food down into the stomach. So, any stomach juices that reflux up into the esophagus are sent back into the stomach. Secondly, saliva is alkaline in nature and helps neutralize any acid brought up into the esophagus. Additionally, gravity not only keeps the stomach contents from backing up but also encourages it to pass on down into the intestines.

When GERD is diagnosed, it means there is mucosal damage caused by abnormal acid retention in the esophagus. If left untreated, constant acid exposure can trigger a disorder called Barrett's esophagus, a premalignant condition which can develop into esophageal cancer. Fortunately small changes in lifestyle and diet habits can prevent acid reflux and avoid a lot of grief later. Some changes that can be incorporated in daily life are:

1) Eat smaller, frequent meals rather than three large ones. Chew food well to help digest it better.

2) Allow at least three to four hours before lying down after a meal.

3) Sleep with the head and torso elevated. This may be achieved by elevating the head of the bed using blocks or bricks or using a wedge pillow. Using extra pillows does not help and as a matter of fact causes more strain.

4) Avoid trigger foods and medications, fatty and fried foods, carbonated and caffeinated beverages, whole milk, garlic, onions, chocolate, peppermint very spicy foods, and acidic vegetables and fruits.

5) Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize the stomach acid.

6) Regular intake of drinking water has been proven to help a lot in acid reflux prevention. Luke warm water helps to flush away any acid in the esophagus.

7) Correct posture also helps keep stomach contents from refluxing. Avoid bending too much especially after meals.

8) Quit smoking and avoid alcoholic beverages. Nicotine weakens the LES, and smoking stimulates stomach-acid production. Alcohol, too, increases the production of acid and relaxes the stomach sphincter.

9) Lose excess weight. Obesity increases abdominal pressure, thus boosting the chances of stomach acid being forced up into the esophagus.

10) Avoid tight-fitting clothes especially at bedtime.

11) Keep a detailed record of what triggered your acid-reflux episodes, their duration and severity. This information will help your doctor to recommend effective treatment.

12) Relax. Stress not only increases stomach-acid production but can also lead to behaviors that trigger heartburn, such as overeating. Regulate your sleep cycle, eat a balanced diet and try yoga or meditation techniques. Exercise can also help, but workouts should be done at least two hours after a meal and avoid jarring exercises like jogging.

13) Get treated for persistent GERD. Treatment with medication to decrease stomach acid production is usually effective but may be harmful if taken for prolonged period. Surgery may be considered if all else fails.

Though not a life-threatening disease, acid reflux can prevent you from enjoying events in your life, focusing on work, or getting the rest you desperately need. A holistic approach to leading a symptom-free life would involve all the above steps and the need to take harmful medications will diminish.

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