Also known as acid reflux, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is digestive disorder in which the contents in the stomach come back into the food pipe or the esophagus. This leads to symptoms like heartburn, acidic taste in the mouth, breathing problem, bad breath, vomiting and chest pain. It is a long-term condition and over a period of time, this can result in difficulty in swallowing and tissue damage. According to Ceciel T. Rooker, Executive Director of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), “It is important to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis when you have signs and symptoms of GERD. Your healthcare provider can then work with you to develop a treatment plan to help best manage your symptoms.” You can take precautions to avoid the symptoms caused due to the condition. Here are some tips shared by IFFGD to control the symptoms of acid reflux this festive season. (ALSO READ Yoga asanas for acidity: 5 most effective yoga poses to treat acid reflux).
1. Schedule an earlier meal. Digestion increases the amount of gastric acid naturally present in the stomach. And, a reclined position can allow stomach contents to reflux up the esophagus more easily. Occurring together, these are a recipe for reflux. While timing can vary from person to person, it is best not to eat within three or four hours of bedtime.
2. Steer clear of known “problem foods.” Coming up with a list of foods to avoid involves experimenting to discover your triggers, as problem foods may differ from person to person. However, many people find that fats, onions, tomatoes and tomato products, chocolate, peppermint, and caffeine-containing foods and beverages to be particularly troublesome.
3. User smaller plates. Eating large meals can trigger symptoms, so try smaller meals spread throughout the day. (ALSO READ Home remedies for acidity: Try these 11 easy ways for quick relief from acidity).
4. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Both alcohol and tobacco are known irritants and can trigger reflux symptoms. Cut back on consumption or avoid completely to reduce reflux.
5. Keep good posture during and after the meal. Sitting up while eating and avoiding lying flat for a minimum of two hours after a meal may help prevent the symptoms. Additionally, standing up and walking around after eating a meal helps encourage gastric juices to flow in the right direction.
Rooker said, “Persistent or repeated heartburn can signal that it’s time to talk to your doctor. GERD is more than simple heartburn. If you suspect that you may have GERD, schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.”
A nonprofit education and research organization, The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) was established in 1991 to improve the lives of people with motility or functional gastrointestinal disorder. IFFGD raises awareness and supports research for chronic digestive conditions.