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Acid Reflux Foods To Avoid. The worst foods for acid reflux could spell sour misery. The foods to avoid in acid reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says GI surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD. This is a question most gastroesophageal reflux disease sufferers struggle upon.
Promoting healthy nutrition that is based on avoiding certain foods while increasing the intake of others has the potential to confer significant long-term health benefits among acid reflux sufferers.
Lifestyle and dietary alterations are considered to be an integral and inseparable part of any long-term holistic GERD treatment.
The foods we consume play an important role when it comes to keeping our body’s delicate natural inner balance. Since certain foods and dietary habits have been found to, directly and indirectly, promote the aggravation of acid reflux.
What Causes GERD?
GERD happens when acidic stomach contents move backward into the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. It is separated from the stomach by a small muscle (the esophageal sphincter). This muscle opens and lets food and liquid enter the stomach and closes to prevent the food and liquid from leaking back into the esophagus.
GER and GERD happen when the muscle relaxes at the wrong time or doesn’t close as it should.
This can happen for different reasons:
- In some people, the muscle doesn’t tighten properly.
- In others, it doesn’t close quickly enough or at the right time, letting stomach contents wash back up.
- If a person eats way too much, the stomach may be so stretched the muscle can’t work as it should.
How Is GERD Diagnosed?
Tell your parents and visit your doctor if you’ve had heartburn that doesn’t seem to go away or any other symptoms of GERD for a while.
The doctor will do an exam and ask about your symptoms. If the doctor suspects GERD, you might go see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who treats kids and teens who have problems of the gastrointestinal system.
Doctors sometimes order these tests to diagnose GERD or rule out other possible problems:
- A special X-ray called a barium swallow radiograph can help doctors see whether the liquid is refluxing into the esophagus. It can also show whether the esophagus is irritated or whether there are other abnormalities in the esophagus or the stomach that can make it easier for someone to reflux. With this test, the person drinks a special solution (barium, a kind of chalky liquid); this liquid then shows up on the X-rays.
- A gastric emptying scan can help show whether a person’s stomach is emptying too slowly, which can make reflux more likely to happen. This test is done either by drinking milk that has a tracer in it or eating scrambled eggs that have a tracer mixed in. A special machine that doesn’t use radiation can detect the tracer to see where it goes and how fast it empties the stomach.
- An upper endoscopy (pronounced: en-DAS-ko-pee) allows the doctor to look at the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small intestines using a tiny camera. For this test, the doctor may give the patient a medicine to help him or she relax and may spray the throat to numb it. This makes the test more comfortable. Most patients are given anesthesia and are “asleep” when this procedure is done.
The doctor then slides a thin, flexible plastic tube called an endoscope down the throat and into the esophagus and the stomach. A tiny camera in the endoscope lets the doctor look for abnormalities on the surface of the esophagus and stomach lining. During the endoscopy, the doctor also may use small tweezers (forceps) to remove a piece of tissue for biopsy. A biopsy can reveal damage caused by acid reflux or infection and help rule out other problems.
- In another kind of test, called a 24-hour impedance-probe study, the doctor puts a tiny tube through the nose and down into the esophagus until the tip is just above the opening to the stomach. The tube will stay there for 24 hours. The tube is connected to a device that monitors the acid levels in the esophagus as the person goes about normal daily activities. It also monitors how many acid and non-acid reflux episodes take place.
This test is useful for diagnosing people who have symptoms of GERD but have no damage to the esophagus. It also can detect whether the reflux triggers respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing.
How Is GERD Treated?
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
The following lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- avoiding alcohol
- losing weight if you are overweight
- eating small meals
- wearing loose-fitting clothes
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
A doctor may also recommend different medications to relieve symptoms. Over-the-counter antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer or Maalox, work by neutralizing stomach acid and can help with mild symptoms. Other medicines called H2 blockers are available over the counter and by prescription and help by blocking the production of stomach acid. If your doctor thinks you should take these, he or she will recommend certain over-the-counter medications or write you a prescription.
More powerful prescription drugs called proton pump inhibitors also reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces. Some of these are also available over-the-counter. Doctors also prescribe these for people with more severe or persistent GERD.
Medications that belong to a class called prokinetics also can be used to help reduce the frequency of reflux by strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter muscle and also helping the stomach empty faster.
For some teens, doctors advise combining medicines to control different symptoms. For example, people who get heartburn after eating can try taking both antacids and H2 blockers. The antacid goes to work first to neutralize the acid in the stomach, while the H2 blocker acts on acid production. By the time the antacid stops working, the H2 blocker will have stopped acid production.
Surgery is a last resort for people with GERD and is rarely needed in healthy teens. The typical surgical treatment for GERD is called fundoplication (pronounced: fun-doh-plih-KAY-shun). During the surgery, the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter to strengthen the sphincter and prevent reflux. Fundoplication has been used in people of all ages, even babies with severe GERD.
What Are The Acid Reflux Foods To Avoid?
Avoiding those foods and adopting specific dietary habits for optimal digestion while suffering from acid reflux could have a tremendously positive effect on your existing medical condition. The following are examples of foods to avoid acid reflux persons:
- Coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages lead to increased acidity, so avoid large amounts of coffee. Try to limit your daily coffee consumption to two cups or less. It possible, split your coffee cup into two half cups and reduce coffee drinking before bedtime.
- Alcohol can irritate the stomach and relax the LES muscle, leading to increased acidity and reflux.
- High-fat foods are among the biggest culprits behind GERD symptoms. They take longer to digest and not easily eliminated out of the body, thus increasing the chances acid will splash up into your esophagus. The only exceptions are omega-3 fatty acids from fish and fish oil, which are in fact powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
- Chocolate contains a great deal of caffeine and fat. This may increase acidity and worsen digestion and hence should be avoided. If you are a devoted chocolate enthusiast, go for dark, organic varieties, and eat no more then two to three tiny squares two to three times per week.
- Milk and milk-based products that contain a big proportion of calcium should also be avoided before bedtime.
- Peppermint, spearmint, and other mints can worsen acid reflux symptoms. Avoid foods that contain strong mints, including mint-based herbal teas.
- acid foods to avoid for reflux (such as oranges and tomatoes) and cruciferous vegetables (onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts) promote the opening of the esophageal sphincter, thus increasing acid reflux-
So what foods to avoid in acid reflux? With these dietary changes and a healthy motivation to alter your lifestyle, you can be on your way to overcoming gastroesophageal reflux disease and improving the quality of your life and well-being
Whatever your medical condition is, when you finally decide to improve your quality of life, you can literally choose to cure GERD and prevent its recurrence, by adopting the holistic approach. You will have the power to make it happen.
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Acid Reflux
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if the best foods for acid reflux do not relieve your symptoms, Dr. Khaitan says. Other options can include lifestyle changes, medications to block acid, and surgical procedures on the esophagus sphincter.
It is important to make a doctor’s appointment if you have heartburn or acid reflux that is severe or frequent, Dr. Khaitan adds. Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and can lead to esophageal cancer.
How to avoid heartburn
heartburn is in reality simply one more name for gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), or heartburn for short. Individuals call heartburn “acid reflux” since it truly feels like your chest is ablaze, says Matthew Bechtold, MD, a gastroenterologist at the University of Missouri Health Care. “Indigestion is the basic term individuals use since they feel a consuming sensation in the chest, yet it’s extremely heartburn coming up from your stomach into your throat and causing torment,” he clarifies.
Be that as it may, it’s not only a consuming sensation. As indicated by Dr. Bechtold, individuals with indigestion may likewise:
Have a feeling that food is returning up into their throat;
Have a constant hack, particularly around evening time when they’re setting down level;
Or on the other hand experience difficulty gulping as a result of aggravation in the throat.
With respect to why this occurs, there’s a couple of reasons. Dr. Bechtold says that specific nourishments can loosen up the lower esophageal sphincter, permitting reflux to be brought back up into the throat all the more without any problem. Those nourishments, as indicated by Rudolph Bedford, MD, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, are a trifecta he calls the “three major sins”: “Caffeine, chocolate and liquor—particularly red wine—will all loosen up the lower esophageal muscles and permit corrosive to return up,” he clarifies, including that fiery food sources and acidic food sources, for example, tomatoes and citrus organic products are likewise normal guilty parties.
Fortunately, there are likewise nourishments to assist you with combatting acid reflux by either forestalling it or assisting with calming it. Here, 11 nourishments you should consider adding to your eating routine to help cool the consumption.
Treatments for GERD
The main treatments for GERD are:
- self-help measures – this includes eating smaller but more frequent meals, avoiding any foods or drinks that trigger your symptoms, raising the head of your bed, and keeping to a healthy weight
- over-the-counter medicines – ask your pharmacist to recommend an antacid or an alginate
- stronger prescription medicines – including proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs)
You may only need to take medication when you experience symptoms, although long-term treatment may be needed if the problem continues.
Surgery to stop stomach acid leaking into your esophagus may be recommended if medication isn’t helping, or you don’t want to take medication on a long-term basis.
Read more about the treatments for GERD.
Complications of GERD
If you have GERD for a long time, stomach acid can damage your oesophagus and cause further problems.
- ulcers (sores) on the esophagus – these may bleed and make swallowing painful
- the esophagus becoming scarred and narrowed – this can make swallowing difficult and may require an operation to correct it
- changes in the cells lining the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus) – very occasionally, oesophageal cancer can develop from these cells, so you may need to be closely monitored
What to do if you have GERD
You can often control the symptoms of GERD by making some lifestyle changes and taking over-the-counter medication.
See treatments for GERD for more information.
You don’t necessarily need to see your GP if you only have symptoms occasionally. Ask your pharmacist for advice on treatments.
When to see your GP
Visit your GP if you’re worried about your symptoms, or if:
- you have symptoms several times a week
- over-the-counter medications aren’t helping
- your symptoms are severe
- you have difficulty swallowing
- you have possible signs of a more serious problem, such as persistent vomiting, vomiting blood or unexplained weight loss
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose GERD based on your symptoms, although they may refer you for some tests
Living With GERD
The key to living with GERD is to not ignore it. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable symptoms. Left untreated, however, GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
One possible long-term effect of GERD is something called Barrett’s esophagus. In this condition, the cells in the esophagus change and become precancerous because they have been irritated by stomach acid for so long. Eventually, it may lead to cancer of the esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is mostly found in adults who have had GERD for many years. But you can help avoid it by dealing with your GERD now.
You’ll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods; others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your individual symptoms.
It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.
This article is based on the book, “Heartburn No More” by Jeff Martin. Jeff is an author, researcher, nutritionist and health consultant who dedicated his life to creating the ultimate acid reflux solution guaranteed to permanently reverse the root cause of heartburn and acid reflux naturally and dramatically improve the overall quality of your life. Without the use of prescription medication and without any surgical procedures. Learn more by visiting his website: