Health Tips from a Mother of Three

3 Tips For Beating Chronic Heartburn or Acid Reflux

Most people will experience occasional heartburn or acid reflux, but for some people it becomes an ongoing problem. Tackling the problem quickly can help you avoid significant damage to your esophagus.

Eat a Simple Diet

Try eating a simple diet for a while to determine if you notice a difference in your amount of heartburn and acid reflux. Some foods can make heartburn worse and they are not always obvious. Skip foods with high amounts of acid, such as coffee, tomatoes, citrus, or any product containing these foods. Even salt and other seasonings can contribute to upper gastrointestinal problems when you are already experiencing irritation. Try foods that are easy to digest, such as simple carbohydrates, white meat or fish, and soft, non-fibrous vegetables. If you frequently consume products with artificial sweeteners, this can also contribute to irritation.

Another problem contributing to chronic heartburn and acid reflux is eating too late in the evening or lying down too soon after a meal. You need to ensure you have plenty of time for your food to digest properly before lying down. If you like to relax and lie on the couch after a meal, make sure you sit up for a few hours after your meal.

Consider PPIs

Proton-pump inhibitors are a type of medication you can buy over the counter to help reduce or eliminate an episode of chronic heartburn and acid reflux. Unlike many retail medications, such as antacids or acid reducers, these are made to be taken daily for two or more weeks. For maximum effectiveness, take your medication with a glass of water and on an empty stomach. Make sure you give your medication at least an hour to work before eating. Taking your medication properly can make a significant difference in its effectiveness. Try to take your medication at the same time each day.

Consult a Specialist

If you have tried lifestyle changes and have been through multiple courses of medication without adequate or long-term relief of your symptoms, it is time to consider other options. Your doctor may want you to try prescription strength medications. If prescription medications are unsuccessful, your primary care doctor will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist for diagnostic imaging, which can be important in determining the exact problem.

An endoscopy is commonly used to look at your upper gastrointestinal system. During the endoscopy, any areas of irritation or ulceration can be seen. If you experience frequent issues with reflux, you may have a weakening of the valve between your esophagus and stomach, which needs to be tightened to prevent food and acid from coming back up into your esophagus.

Although chronic heartburn and acid reflux can be signs of a serious condition, most cases can be managed and eliminated through lifestyle changes. If further treatment is needed, most problems can be treated with minimally invasive surgery in an outpatient setting. Consider contacting a specialist, such as Hindman Derek, to discuss your condition and what treatment may be best for you.