Heartburn and acid reflux disease are often used interchangeably, but these two terms refer to different things. Acid reflux disease goes by another name: gastroesophageal reflux disease. And heartburn — that feeling of burning discomfort in your chest — is a symptom of acid reflux disease.
Heartburn can develop when too much stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. This backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.
Acid reflux disease can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, which is why Eric Ibegbu, MD, and our team at Atlantic Medical Group recommend that you come see us if you have chronic heartburn. We can explore a variety of treatment options, including medication and surgery.
In the meantime, here are five tips to help you avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Avoid your triggers
Certain foods and beverages can exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux disease. The most common triggers include chocolate, caffeinated drinks, tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, peppermint, and onions. Spicy or fatty foods (including deep-fried) can also cause discomfort.
Tip: Keep a food diary to log your symptoms and try to pinpoint which foods are your triggers.
Adjust your bed
If sleeping flat on your back intensifies your acid reflux symptoms, you can make a few simple changes to your bed. Elevate your bed (if you have an adjustable bed) so that your head is higher than your feet.
Don’t eat right before you fall asleep
If you can’t adjust your bed, you can reduce your nighttime symptoms by not going to bed with a full stomach. Schedule your last meal of the day at least three hours before you plan to go to bed.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Overeating and eating too much at once can make symptoms worse. Instead of three large meals, consider eating smaller but more frequent meals. Try five to six mini-meals instead of three large ones.
Slow down at mealtimes
Sometimes eating too fast can increase gas and feelings of indigestion. Avoid rushing through meals. In addition to slowing down, don’t eat right before a workout. After eating, wait at least two hours before working out.
A few lifestyle changes — like avoiding your dietary triggers — may be enough to show an improvement. Sometimes, though, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to give you the relief you need. And that’s where we come in.
At Atlanta Medical Group, Dr. Ibegbu wants to help you feel better. We are located in Kinston and Jacksonville, North Carolina. To learn more about acid reflux disease or to schedule an appointment, call the location of your choice today.