How Can I Prevent Acid Reflux?

young woman with acid refluxAcid reflux is a common condition that can cause heartburn as well as other symptoms, but there are steps you can take to prevent its occurrence.What is acid reflux?Acid reflux occurs when acid that’s produced by your stomach moves up into your esophagus. This tube connects the throat and stomach, and sometimes the valve at the entrance to your stomach doesn’t close all the way when food passes through it, or it opens too often. When this happens, stomach acid can back up into your esophagus, causing symptoms.Acid reflux is also called gastroesophageal reflux, and if it happens more than twice a week, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).What are the symptoms of acid reflux?Acid reflux can cause the following symptoms:

  • A burning pain in your abdomen, chest or throat (heartburn)
  • A sour taste in your mouth
  • Burping
  • Bloating
  • Persistent hiccups
  • Hoarseness, wheezing, or a dry cough
  • A feeling that food is stuck in your throat
What are the risk factors for developing this condition?If one or more of the following applies, you could have an increased risk of having acid reflux:
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Pregnancy
  • Being diabetic
  • Having an eating disorder now or in the past
What lifestyle and dietary changes do you need to make?The following can sometimes help prevent acid reflux symptoms:
  • Lose weight if you need to
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Avoid lying down for at least three hours after you eat
  • Avoid possible trigger foods such as chocolate, fried foods and citrus foods and juices
  • Quit smoking
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing around your abdomen
  • Check your medications, since some – including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – can cause problems with your esophagus
  • Raise the head of your bed by 6-8 inches
Can medication help with acid reflux?The following types of medication can help with acid reflux. Some are available by prescription only, and you shouldn’t take more than one type without your doctor’s OK:
  • Antacids (Tums, Alka-Seltzer, or Maalox) – neutralize the acids in your stomach
  • H-2 receptor blockers (such as Zantac or Pepcid AC) – decreases the production of acid
  • Proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Prevacid, or Nexium) – decrease the production of acid
Can surgery help with acid reflux?Surgery is usually only considered if medications aren’t effective enough and your symptoms are interfering with your life.If you have symptoms of acid reflux, contact us today for a consultation with Gotham Gastroenterology in NYC. Our expertly trained physicians provide the highest level of care in a personalized, compassionate environment. We’ll diagnose the cause of your symptoms and provide the most effective, least invasive treatment possible. Fill out the form on this page to request an appointment or call 212-794-0240 to learn more.

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