Globally, acid reflux is the most common gastrointestinal issue, affecting 20% of the adult population in Western countries. Closer to home, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects more than one-quarter of the adult population in the United States.
If you’re among these numbers, we want to help. While the highly experienced team here at Rockwall Surgical Specialists excels in surgical procedures, including reflux surgery, we do believe in trying nonsurgical routes first, especially with conditions like GERD.
Here, we review five all-natural steps you can take to try and bring your acid reflux under control.
One of the most important steps you can take is to understand the foods or drinks that trigger your acid reflux so you can avoid them. While triggers vary from one person to the next, some of the more common include:
Understanding what can trigger your acid reflux is invaluable in helping you manage the condition.
Going a step further, you might try to eat foods that keep stomach acid levels low, such as those that contain water, like watermelon. As well, foods with high alkaline content can help keep stomach acid levels low, such as bananas, nuts, and melons.
Aside from knowing your triggers, how you eat can also play a role. We suggest that you eat smaller portions of food throughout the day to keep your stomach acids more level. When you gorge on a big meal after not eating for several hours, your production of stomach acids flares, which can lead to heartburn.
Also, avoid eating for a few hours before you go to bed. When you lie down, stomach acids no longer have gravity to keep them down, so you don’t want to go to bed with increased acids in your stomach.
In addition to not eating before bedtime, you can help solve the gravity issue by sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated. There are some great wedge pillows you can purchase that provide gradual elevation for your upper body.
Another great way to achieve a good angle is to raise the top part of your bed by 6-8 inches.
Also, sleeping on your left side can also keep acid reflux at bay.
The role that stress can play with GERD can be significant, so you want to do what you can to keep your stress levels down, which will keep your stomach acid levels down.
Some great ways to de-stress and blow off steam are walks, meditation, a practice like yoga, deep breathing, or simply spending some time with family and friends.
If you’re a smoker, we’re going to add GERD to the long list of reasons why you should quit. When you have GERD, it’s usually caused by a weakness in your lower esophageal sphincter, which doesn’t close off properly, allowing stomach acids to get into your throat. When you smoke, the nicotine can contribute to this weakness.
There are times when you can try every recommendation under the sun to control your GERD, as well as every medication, and the problem persists. This can be dangerous as the acids erode the lining of your esophagus. Or perhaps you have a hiatal hernia that’s causing the acid reflux.
In either case, we can repair the issue surgically, which should relieve your symptoms once and for all.
If you have more questions about controlling your acid reflux or you’d like to set up a surgical consultation, please contact one of our locations in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, Terrell, or Forney, Texas.