It is a sage advice that prevention is better than cure, also medications may seem the easier way out on a short-term basis, just pop one pill and you’re done but doctors and researchers agree that non-medication related changes and life improvements are much sustainable and more effective on a long term so keeping that in mind, we will discuss a few things you can do to manage acid reflux without medications, number one eating sparingly and slowly, when the stomach is very full, the pressure inside increases and this leads to more food which tries to push and reflux back into your esophagus, to prevent this, you can practice a method of eating known as grazing, eat small balanced meals, eat frequently and avoid eating large meals three times a day, this will reduce the pressure on your esophagus and helps to control the reflux. Number two, avoid certain foods, people with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets but that’s no longer the case, people with reflux can easily manage symptoms by avoiding not all but a very few common culprits, these include foods like mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlics, coffee, tea, chocolate and alcohol. If you eat any of those foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux and then try adding them back one by one. Number three, don’t drink carbonated beverages, the fizziness of carbonated beverages comes from the gas that is pressurized into them, when you drink these beverages, gases are released which in turn makes you burp, burping sends the acid back into your esophagus and worsens the reflux, drink flat water instead of sparkling water and cold rings.
Number four, stay up after eating, when you’re standing or even sitting, gravity helps to keep the acid in the stomach, when you lie down on a full stomach, food pushes up into the esophagus and eventually causes a reflux, for this make it a habit to finish eating meals 3 hours before you go to bed, i know it’s very irresistible but to decrease your chances of reflux, you should avoid naps after lunch, avoid late suppers and also avoid midnight snacks, also it’s probably best to avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating, an after dinner stroll or casual walk is fine but a more sternous workout especially if it involves bending over can send acid back into your esophagus. Number five, sleep on an incline, another way to let gravity do its job is by inclining your bed when you sleep, when you incline your bed, gravity prevents upward rise of food and liquid into your esophagus essentially preventing the reflux, ideally your head should be six to eight inches higher than your feet, you can achieve this by placing small wooden blocks under the upper pillars of your bed to raise the height of the upper end of the bed by six to eight inches, you can also try this by using a foam wedge support for your upper body, just ensure you provide yourself uniform support and don’t obstruct your natural sleep. Number 6, lose weight, the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter helps to keep it tight and closed,when a person is overweight there is stress on this muscular structure which leads to weakness of the esophageal sphincter, this is the initiating point of reflux problems, studies have concluded that obesity is associated with statistically significant increase in the risk of reflux gerd symptoms, erosive esophagitis, sore throat and esophageal cancer, they also found that this risk progressively increases with increasing weight, doctors agree that it’s better to eat less, exercise more and lose weight, rather than undergo surgery or taking medications for acid reflux. Number seven, if you smoke, quit, nicotine a key part of tobacco is thought to relax the ring of muscles in the lower esophagus that keeps acid in the stomach, whenever you smoke, that ring relaxes and acid trickles up and causes that burning sensation, smoking also decreases the mucus your body normally produces, mucus is important to prevent acid from attacking the stomach and esophagus from the inside so when mucus decreases, the reflux symptoms increase, also most smokers have chest related problems that make them cough more and often cough increases pressure inside the abdomen, this increased pressure increases reflux, every time you cough, acid gets sent upwards and the heartburn increases nicotine gums and patches are safer bets for overall health, they will help you overcome your habit and they are less likely to give you heartburn, one small study found no increase in heartburn risk in people who used a nicotine patch.