There are, however, various factors that can affect the efficiency of the LES
and acid reflux. Consider eliminating these factors that may impact on GERD
before seeing your doctor or taking over the counter acid suppressants.
Sometimes all you need is a change of lifestyle.
Obesity can cause or contribute to acid reflux. This is especially so in the
apple type distribution of weight. The extra weight increases bulk in the upper
abdomen and makes it difficult for the esophagus to discharge food effectively
into the stomach. In addition obese individuals are prone to developing hiatus
hernias. A hiatus hernia can weaken the LES. Losing weight is an important
aspect of acid reflux treatment.
Wearing tight fitting clothes can cause acid reflux especially if it is two
sizes too small. The increased pressure in the stomach may force acid back up
into the esophagus. Wear loose clothes and your reflux symptoms will go away.
Large volume of food in the stomach will put pressure on the LES and can trigger
acid reflux. It has happened to us all at some time or other. The large volume
also reduces gastric clearance time allowing more opportunity for reflux. Eating
smaller portions more frequently will counter this problem.
Certain foods can affect GERD. Cow's milk protein intolerance can cause
esophagitis. It is called Allergic Eosinophilic Esophagitis. This is controlled
by removing cow's milk protein from the diet. Other foods that can affect the
LES include fats, coffee, tea, alcohol, and some spices.
Some drugs can affect the LES and cause acid reflux. These drugs include
broncho-dilators such as theophylline, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAID), tri-cyclic antidepressants ie amitriptylline and drugs for Parkinson's
Female hormones can affect acid reflux. In a Scandinavian Study, women on
hormones had increased risk of GERD. These drugs include the contraceptive pill
and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Sedatives and tranquillisers can slow
down peristaltic waves in the esophagus affecting clearance of food from the
If you are on medication and you have GERD, opt for liquid medication. Certain
drugs ie tetracycline are corrosive to the esophageal lining. Tablets and
capsules (gelcaps) can lodge in the esophagus. Always drink a glass of water
after medication to wash it down into the stomach. Avoid taking medication while
lying down. GERD patients should always take medication sitting up or standing
and avoid lying down immediately after.
Smoking relaxes the LES and nicotine is corrosive to esophageal lining. Stop
smoking and your GERD might improve.
Certain exercises can increase the risk of GERD. This is the case in competitive
weightlifting and cycling. Joggers can develop acid reflux symptoms.
If you have acid reflux symptoms, look at all the potential risk factors and
eliminate them. If by doing so, your symptoms disappear, you have actually cured
your acid reflux. However, if the symptoms persist, the next step is a visit to
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