Even if you’ve been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you don’t have to suffer with the discomfort of acid reflux. Gastroenterologist Eric Ibegbu, MD, is on a mission to help you enjoy your life to the fullest by providing relief from acid reflux.
Here at Atlantic Medical Group, we offer a variety of nonsurgical and surgical options so you can feel better and avoid the unwanted complications of untreated acid reflux.
In addition to professional treatment (including medications), you can adopt these healthy habits to ease the discomfort of acid reflux.
Eat smaller meals
Eating smaller meals can reduce the intensity of your acid reflux symptoms. According to research published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, eating smaller meals helps in two ways:
- Less food in your stomach means less stomach acid
- Less food means less chance of your belly pressing on the lower esophageal sphincter
Switch to six small meals each day instead of three large meals. Your caloric intake doesn’t need to change; simply spread your food intake out throughout the day.
In addition to eating smaller meals, eat slower. Eating slower gives your brain a chance to get the signal from your belly that you feel full. This prevents accidental overeating, which can lead to a full stomach and put pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter.
Skip the bedtime snack
Eating right before you go to bed can make acid reflux worse. That’s because gravity forces the food you just ate to press against your lower esophageal sphincter.
Refrain from eating two hours (or four hours for severe GERD) before you go to bed to reduce the amount of nocturnal stomach acid.
Elevate your head
Speaking of bedtime, elevate your head while you sleep or nap. Elevating your head improves your symptoms by reducing the pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. You can use wedge pillows, an adjustable mattress, or simply stack a few regular pillows together.
Take medication as directed
If you have prescription medication for acid reflux, continue to take it, even if you feel good. Examples of prescription medication include:
- Prescription-strength proton pump inhibitors
- Prescription-strength H2-receptor blockers
- Medications to strengthen your esophageal sphincter
Even with medication, you might find that wearing tight clothing (such as slimming belts or corset-type undergarments) makes your symptoms worse.
Did you know that unmanaged stress can make acid reflux worse? You can include many different stress management techniques into your life, including:
- Exercise, which improves mental and physical wellness
- Deep breathing
- Other activities you enjoy
If you make these lifestyle changes, but still struggle with acid reflux, we can help. Letting acid reflux remain untreated or undermanaged can cause long-term damage to your throat. Dr. Ibegbu can perform surgery to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter or to reinforce the lower esophageal sphincter, depending on your condition.
To explore your acid reflux treatment options, please contact us to book your appointment today. We have offices in Kinston and Jacksonville, North Carolina, and are ready to help you get relief.