People sometimes think of heartburn or acid reflux as just an inconvenience. For those that believe that, obviously they have never suffered from it on a recurring basis. The pain and burning sensation that can travel from your chest and into your throat can be extremely painful. Most people just deal with it now and then, but there are those that suffer through it as it reoccurs nightly.
Unfortunately, recurring acid reflux can eventually lead to death. Over the years, acid reflux may be causing cell changes in the esophagus. This can be determined with a doctor recommending you to receive an endoscopy. Through this procedure, they will be able to tell if you have a precancerous stage known as Barrett’s Esophagus. If the acid reflux is not improved after this, it can lead to having esophageal cancer. This is extremely bad news since the five-year survival rate with esophageal cancer is low.
There are ways to combat acid reflux where if it does not cure it, at least it will cause it to happen less frequently. Follow these tips below on dealing with your acid reflux.
Change Your Diet
There are certain foods or drinks that you may be consuming that will tend to give you acid reflux more often. Anything with caffeine can be a culprit. Smoking aggravates acid reflux as well. Alcohol is a drink that will have your acid reflux kicking into overdrive. Chocolate, potato chips, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, and salad dressings are all culprits. Basically, any fried or fatty foods are your enemy when handling acid reflux.
Over the Counter Medications
If you have checked out the antacid section in the medicine aisle lately then you know there are numerous products out there. It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many choices. There are some that supposedly you can take in the morning and it will last all day. There are others that you take right after you ate something that you know will give you acid reflux. The truth is that you will have to do a bit of experimenting to figure out which ones work best for you.
If your acid reflux is continuously showing up every single night, then, hopefully, you have spoken to your doctor about the problem. Explain to your doctor how much it is affecting you and how frequently. If you are like me, you might be sleeping in a recliner every night so the acid reflux does not make you choke throughout the night. Whatever the case, make sure your doctor takes you seriously. There are medicines that he can prescribe that will be stronger than what you can find in stores. Bring along all the over the counter meds that you have taken so far in your quest to stop acid reflux from happening so he knows just how serious the problem is.
Avoid Large Meals
You might have noticed this on your own already, but overeating tends to make your acid reflux kick into high gear quickly. In addition, being overweight activates acid reflux as well. Being able to push yourself away from the dinner table will only make things better. Eat smaller meals more frequently instead of large meals that make you feel sluggish. Your throat and your waistline will thank you.
Elevate Your Head in Bed
I already mentioned that many nights I sleep in a recliner. Laying down makes your acid reflux worse, so keeping your head up lessens the effect. Having a few extra pillows on your bed can help prop you up better. If your acid reflux is really bad, you may have woken up choking from everything climbing up in the back of your throat. There is no worse feeling than choking and gasping for air out of a deep sleep. Be creative and find ways to keep your head elevated so this does not happen to you.
Don’t Eat Before Bed
Try to not eat anything three hours before going to bed. I know this may be hard since many of us are late night snackers, but the longer we go without eating before lying down the better. Get used to eating an early dinner. If you have any senior citizen friends, they tend to eat earlier as well so you can base your mealtime on their schedule.
Drink Alkaline Water
Most water that comes out of the tap and in those expensive bottles in the store is neutral. This means that the pH level is at 7 on a 0 to 14 scale. If a drink’s pH level is below 7, then that means it is acidic and it is aggravating your acid reflux. Orange juice, coffee, and soda are examples of drinks that are highly acidic. Soda actually has a pH level of 2.5 to 3. To put that into perspective, battery acid has a pH level of 1. It is no wonder it is damaging our throats.
If the drink is above 7 on the pH scale, that means it is alkaline. A bottled water company that started in 2012, Waiakea Water (who we’ve talked about here), has their water with a pH level of about 8. Their alkaline water can actually neutralize the acid in your body and help immensely with acid reflux.
One of the most popular over the counter medications for acid reflux is Alka-Seltzer. The number one ingredient in it is sodium bicarbonate. This ingredient is high in alkaline. It makes sense that drinking glasses of alkaline water throughout the day will help combat the acid reflux that is greatly affecting your life.
Following these tips will give you a great start in your battle against acid reflux and heartburn. It is not something that will be fixed overnight, and will probably affect you the rest of your life. The important thing is to get it under control enough so you do not have to worry about it getting worse down the road.