If you, like millions of people, suffer from the pain and discomfort of acid reflux disease, your doctor may have suggested medications to help ease your symptoms. Acid reflux, also known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD, is a painful condition that occurs when stomach contents re-enter the esophagus, due to a weakness of the esophageal sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus. Stomach acids can be dangerous and cause damage to the throat and larynx if left untreated, so it is important to see a doctor to diagnose and treat your symptoms.
Often the use of an acid reflux drug can help to stop the pain and other symptoms almost immediately, bringing welcome relief. Some types of acid reflux drugs cause the production of less acid in the stomach, and some cause the acid to become less strong.
However, while there are many types of acid reflux drug that your doctor may prescribe, prescription medications can be expensive, and sometimes have unwanted side effects. And many people simply want to avoid ingesting chemical medications, preferring a more natural approach wherever possible. Luckily there are many alternatives to acid reflux drugs. Some simple changes in lifestyle may avoid the need for acid reflux drugs. These changes include a special diet to avoid aggravating the acid reflux disease.
One step to take if you wish to avoid taking acid reflux drugs is to eat smaller and more frequent meals. Eating large meals tends to cause the stomach to produce too much acid, while waiting too long between meals can also allow the acids to further irritate the already-sensitive esophageal tissues. You will often notice a bitter taste in the back of your throat in this case.
Eating different foods may also help. Avoid foods that are very spicy, or high in fat. You may also find it helpful to avoid or cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Learn which foods are naturally acidic, such as tomatoes, and avoid them while treating your acid reflux disease.
Finally, lying down after meals can almost always make acid reflux symptoms worse. Avoid after-dinner naps, and do not eat directly before bedtime.
If you follow these simple changes, you may find that there is no need to take an acid reflux drug. However, if our symptoms do not improve, check back with your doctor, as acid reflux symptoms can be damaging in the long run.