One of the major symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is heartburn. It has nothing to do with your heart, but it does feel like a burning sensation in your chest accompanied by a bitter taste in your mouth. The reason for GERD is a problem with the ring of muscle between your esophagus and stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Instead of closing to prevent stomach acids from backing up into your esophagus, it doesn’t. The LES muscles of people with GERD are lax and fail to close completely. Heartburn is uncomfortable and makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Importance of Proper Management
Things that you can do to control your reflux disease can reduce the frequency of heartburn. The short term goal is to prevent the uncomfortable experience of heartburn, over the long term, managing your reflux disease may reduce the risk of complications that include damage to the esophagus and esophageal cancer.
A few things that you can do include:
Maintaining a healthy weight. The excess weight can force the acid back up and into the esophagus through the build-up of pressure against the esophageal sphincter. Shedding just a few pounds makes a big difference to your experience with GERD.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day. Big meals trigger excessive stomach acid production, especially fatty meals. Try reducing your caloric intake to 500 calories per meal, and choose a low-fat and no spice option. Spicy foods can trigger heartburn.
Eat more of the foods that prevent acid reflux. Foods that prevent acid reflux are high in fiber, such as oats and bran, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli. Alkaline foods such as banana, nuts, and cauliflower can also prevent acid reflux.
Avoid sitting after every meal. Get up and walk after every meal and allow your body to digest the food first before sitting.
Quit smoking. Among the many reasons to stop smoking is to prevent the further weakening of your esophageal sphincter. Patients who quit smoking report an improvement in symptoms of GERD.
Use a wedge pillow for sleeping. There is an abundance of inclined pillows on the market, designed to help people with GERD. It’s easier for the stomach acids to back up into your esophagus and your throat while you’re lying down.
Seek treatment for GERD. Common treatments for GERD include antacids, prescription proton pump inhibitors, and for severe cases, surgery to tighten the LES muscle.
If you are experiencing heartburn more frequently lately, have a physician evaluate your symptoms and create a treatment plan that relieves your symptoms and prevent damage to the esophagus.
Acid Reflux Disease Management in Denton and Frisco, TX
Dr. Rani Anbarasu of Star Medical Associates provides superior disease management services and regularly treats patients with GERD symptoms and eases their discomfort so they can live a normal life. Our entire team of compassionate health care providers is committed to improving your life. We don’t just focus on treating your immediate healthcare needs, but also teach you how to properly care for yourself in between doctor’s visits. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Anbarasu, call our clinic at (940) 382-6900 in Denton, Texas, or (469) 301-2300 in Frisco. Or use our convenient online request form.