Acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is the phenomenon in which acidity from your stomach rises through your esophagus, irritating the lining of your esophagus and causing you an uncomfortable feeling.
Oftentimes, acid reflux can be felt in the form of chest pain, a sensation in your throat, or even difficulty swallowing. If you’re overweight, you may be experiencing these sensations more than most. However, by losing weight and making other lifestyle adjustments, like developing a healthy diet and beginning an exercise routine, you can lower both your risk of acid reflux and how often you experience GERD.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
One of the most common causes of acid reflux is referred to as hiatal hernia. This phenomenon occurs when both your LES (lower esophageal sphincter) and your upper stomach move above the diaphragm, a muscle which separates your stomach from your chest. The diaphragm is what normally stops the acid from reentering your esophagus, but when experiencing a hiatal hernia, your body will begin to feel the symptoms of acid reflux.
Additionally, there are various other factors that can increase one’s risk of experiencing GERD. First, if you eat meals that are too large, or you decide to lie down too quickly after eating, you can be of higher risk for experiencing symptoms of acid reflux. As we previously mentioned, being obese or overweight also increase your risk. Lastly, you can experience acid reflux if you eat certain foods or drink certain drinks, which we will discuss in the following section.
What Foods Should I Avoid?
Various acidic foods can cause acid reflux such as:
- Spicy Foods
- Fatty Foods
Additionally, there are a number of drinks that can cause irritation as well:
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Carbonated Drinks
Having gained an understanding of the causes of acid reflux, we’ll now focus on various methods for relieving your irritation.
How Do I Get Rid Of My Acid Reflux?
The first step to avoid acid reflux is to stop eating the foods that cause your body to become irritated. If you already know which foods are worst for your body, try eating / drinking the specific item less frequently. If you’re unsure as to what is causing your GERD, try eliminating food or drink items one by one until you discover which cause your body the most irritation.
If eliminating different food items from your diet doesn’t work, here are a few additional ways you can avoid experiencing acid reflux:
- Try eating smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day if you’d like.
- Raise your head a few inches higher while you lie down in bed.
- If you do smoke, it can cause increased risk for acid reflux. So, it’s best to avoid smoking.
- Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight or belts that hug your waist too tightly.
- Give yourself more time in between eating and lying down – try waiting 2-3 hours.
- Ask your doctor if any medication you are currently taking can be causing acid reflux.
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