Acid reflux, sometimes referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can often be painful, uncomfortable, and should be taken care of as quickly as possible. The quicker an individual can learn to control acid reflux, the better off they will be in the long run.
Letting acid reflux continue for too long can present other health complications in the future, such as the inflammation of the esophagus.
What are the symptoms of acid reflux/GERD?
There are a few different symptoms of acid reflux, most of which are very apparent because they are painful or make you feel uncomfortable.
- Coughing that feels “dry.”
- Pain in the chest.
- A “sour” taste at the back of the throat.
- Regurgitation of food.
- Sensation of something “stuck” in your throat.
When should I visit a doctor?
If you are noticing any of the above symptoms, we recommend that you stop into one of our Banner Urgent Care facilities when you get a chance. However, if you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should contact a doctor immediately for GERD treatment:
- Acid reflux or GERD symptoms gets worse.
- Losing weight without trying.
- Food gets stuck when you try to swallow.
- Difficulty swallowing food or beverages.
- Pain in the stomach or chest gets severe.
- Vomiting blood.
Some acid reflux symptoms can be a sign of a more severe condition that can put you in a health risk. Make sure to visit Banner Urgent Care immediately or call a doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms. It’s always better to play it safe, even if you’re not sure if the symptoms are cause for alarm.
Controlling Acid Reflux
Controlling acid reflux may require some changes in your lifestyle, but the changes do not need to seem unbearable and difficult. It’s important to find acid reflux treatment as early as you can in order to reduce the risks of it continuing or presenting further complications in your health.
Alter Eating Habits
Changing what you eat and how often you eat can provide significant improvement to controlling GERD (acid reflux). For example, if you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, you will want to avoid eating big meals and instead break them down into smaller meals and consume them more frequently.
In addition, make sure to reduce or eliminate foods that are spicy or have a significant amount of acid in them. Tomatoes, oranges, coffee, and similar foods and beverages can make symptoms of acid reflux worse. The best way to tell if a food or beverage should be discontinued is to pay attention to whether or not you feel worse after consuming it.
Chocolates, mints and alcohol should also be avoided whenever possible. These foods and beverages will relax the valve in your body between the stomach and the esophagus, making acid reflux symptoms more apparent and severe.
Always make sure to wait a couple of hours after eating to lay down or go to sleep. Laying down after eating (such as is common with late-night snacking) can result in an episode of acid reflux and make conditions worse. If you are getting tired or expect you’ll want or need to lay down within the next couple of hours, make sure to avoid eating anything.
Avoid Smoking & Chewing Tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco can make symptoms of acid reflux more severe, which is why it’s important to eliminate or reduce these habits from your lifestyle. The sooner you can cut these habits out of your lifestyle, the better the long term results will be for you.
Customize Your Bed
If you are experiencing GERD symptoms late at night when trying to sleep, or it wakes you up from your slumber, changing your bed to accommodate your body can be a great form of acid reflux treatment. It’s suggested to raise the end of your bed (near your head) by at least 6 inches to about 8 inches. You can raise your bed by placing foam padding underneath the head of your mattress or put sturdy blocks underneath the frame. It’s not recommended to only use pillows to raise the elevation of your head and shoulders, as these can be accidentally moved during your sleep.
Try Different Clothing
If you typically wear tighter clothing or attire that is form fitting, you may want to try looser clothing that does not feel tight or form fitting to the middle portion of your body. When you have tight clothing, it compresses your body and makes it easier for acid reflux symptoms to arise.
Regulate Your Body Weight
If you are overweight, or have gained weight recently, losing a few pounds can play a big part in helping you to reduce the symptoms of GERD. Depending on your current weight, you do not need to lose a tremendous amount of weight before feeling the positive changes through a reduction of acid reflux episodes.
Contact us today at Banner Urgent Care to learn more about acid reflux treatment and how it can help you to control your GERD symptoms. The sooner you can make lifestyle changes or receive medication for GERD treatment, the quicker you’ll be able to get your acid reflux episodes under control while reducing the risk of further health complications later in life.