Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a chronic experience of acid reflux and heartburn. Many people experience acid reflux or heartburn every once in a while, but it becomes a chronic condition if you experience one or the other one to two times a week, or even more severely, every time you eat.
What to Do If You’re Experiencing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
GERD can be caused by overeating, eating too fast, lying down immediately after eating, or by consuming certain foods. It can also be caused by being overweight (and can occur during a woman’s pregnancy), smoking, drinking alcohol, and certain medications such as aspirin. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate GERD symptoms.
If you consume a lot of fried, fatty, and sugary foods, you’re putting yourself at risk for developing heartburn and/or acid reflux, and constantly experiencing these can cause you to develop GERD. Even some healthy foods can irritate the stomach, causing acid to come back up through the esophagus. So limit your intake of citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and mint. Also, try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, fatty beef and pork, full-fat dairy products, and spicy foods.
Because GERD is chronic acid reflux, where stomach acid is irritating the esophagus, it may help to eat more alkaline foods to help neutralize stomach acid. Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence to back up this claim, but there are other foods that can be consumed that can help alleviate symptoms of GERD.
A high-fiber diet will help you feel fuller faster preventing you from overeating, which is one of the causes of GERD. Make sure to eat plenty of whole grains, potatoes, and other starches, fruits, and vegetables— remember to limit your intake of citrus fruits (including strawberries and tomatoes) and onions.
The more food you eat, the more pressure is put on your stomach, which can further contribute to constant acid reflux and heartburn. You should also eat slowly because eating quickly can cause your lower esophageal sphincter (which closes off the stomach from the esophagus) to close slower or not all the way. Lying down immediately after eating may also have the same effect. Engage in some relaxing activities for one to two hours before you lie down after a meal.
In addition to changing your diet, you can try some home remedies that may help alleviate the symptoms (though not correcting the problem). Many people have used apple cider vinegar to help relieve their heartburn, and claim that it works really well. The only thing is that because apple cider vinegar is naturally very acidic, you should dilute it with water before drinking it to balance out some of that acidity. The same thing can be said about lemon water— just a pinch of lemon juice in warm water with raw honey can help relieve your heartburn.
Milk is another home remedy for heartburn, but it can also make GERD worse if done incorrectly. If you’re going to consume milk to relieve your heartburn, make sure that it’s fat-free or reduced-fat since the fat in dairy products irritates GERD symptoms. The reason milk may help is because it’s a good source of calcium, and calcium is highly alkaline.
If dietary changes and home remedies aren’t working, you may have to take an OTC (over-the-counter) antacid, such as Zantac. However, if you’re taking Zantac, make sure it’s the Zantac 360 packaging because the original Zantac was recalled two years ago for containing an ingredient that was proven to be a human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).
If you have the original Zantac in your medicine cabinet, throw it away immediately and consult your doctor if you’ve experienced any nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, or dizziness. You may also need to consult a lawyer, such as Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, if you were diagnosed with cancer after taking the original Zantac.
If you’re not sure about what dietary changes, home remedies, or medicine is best for you to do/take for your recurrent acid reflux or heartburn, then you should consult your doctor. Your primary care physician will know the best course of action for you to take to alleviate your GERD symptoms. They will even be able to tell if your symptoms are due to GERD or another problem. Also, remember to take all recalls seriously for your own health and safety.