Every month, more than 60 million people in the United States experience acid reflux symptoms, better known as heartburn.
If you’re among the one-quarter of people who experience acid reflux symptoms almost daily, you may have a more chronic condition caused gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
No matter the frequency of your symptoms, your discomfort may affect your daily activities, diet, and sleep. But there are steps you can take to control your acid reflux.
At Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, our board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. John M. Rivas, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of acid reflux. We want to share some of our best tips to help you gain control over the discomfort.
1. Pay attention to your diet
Certain foods are known to cause acid reflux in some people, and if you’re one of them, you need to know the culprits. The most notable foods that may trigger your heartburn include spicy foods, onions, tomatoes, chocolate, garlic, tea and coffee, fatty foods, mint, and alcohol.
Paying attention to what you eat and how food makes you feel may help you identify the foods that trigger your acid reflux symptoms so you can eliminate them from your diet.
2. Avoid carbonated beverages
It’s not just your food choices that may trigger your acid reflux. Certain beverages may cause abdominal pain and discomfort too.
The carbonation in soft drinks, seltzer water, and beer causes the acid from your stomach to bubble up into your throat, creating the uncomfortable burning sensation. Cutting carbonated drinks from your diet may help control your symptoms.
3. Keep your head propped while you sleep
When you sleep on your back, the acid from your stomach may flow up into your esophagus and cause a burning sensation. If you find yourself waking up in pain during the night, your sleeping position may be the problem.
Making a few changes to your bed may help keep the contents of your stomach from creeping up and burning your throat. You can prop your head up with extra pillows, bed frame extenders, or a foam wedge.
4. Drop those unwanted pounds
Carrying extra body weight places pressure on your stomach and increases your risk of acid reflux. Dropping some of those unwanted pounds may alleviate the pressure and help control your symptoms.
5. Don’t eat too close to bedtime
If your acid reflux symptoms always seem to hit as soon as you try to go to sleep, you may be eating too close to bedtime. It may take an hour or more for your stomach to fully digest food and move it down to the next part of your digestive system.
We recommend you eat your last meal at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed so your stomach has a chance to move things along.
If you’ve tried these helpful tips and still can’t get relief from your acid reflux symptoms, give us a call or use our online scheduling tool to set up an appointment with Dr. Rivas.