CPR First Aid

How to Help Acid Reflux?

Multiple sources across the web identify different treatments for acid reflux including smoking cessation, weight management, avoiding trigger foods, and others. There are also acid reflux treatments at home such as drinking ginger tea or an apple cider vinegar mixture. Medicines are also available in pharmacies and online stores which you must take after consulting a doctor. Additional information regarding these treatments is found below.

How to Help Acid Reflux with Lifestyle Changes?

According to Harvard Health Publishing, the following lifestyle changes may help acid reflux.

Harvard Health suggests lifestyle changes for acid reflux.

Quit Smoking

Nicotine in cigarettes may relax the lower esophageal sphincter which triggers acid reflux.

Manage Weight

If a health professional recommends you lose weight to achieve a healthy number for your statistics, follow it. The extra weight causes the muscular structure to spread, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter, and causing acid reflux.

Avoid Foods that Trigger Acid Reflux

It may be ideal to slowly eliminate the following foods that cause acid reflux from your diet.

  • Mint
  • Fatty food
  • Spicy food
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol

It is still possible to add them back one by one later on, a nutritionist may be able to guide you in adjusting your diet properly.

What Foods and Drinks are Best for Acid Reflux?

An ENT Clinic in NSW has an article outlining the following foods and drinks that may reduce your acid reflux symptoms.

  • Fruits (bananas and apples)
  • Vegetables (carrots, peas, baked potatoes, and green beans)
  • Grains (multi-grain or white bread, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, or corn bread)
  • Beverages (water or mineral water)
  • Meat products and other proteins (extra-lean ground beef, skinless chicken breast, low-fat fish, and egg whites)

AN ENT doctor may also help customise your diet plan.

Eat Mindfully, Sparingly, and Slowly

Mindfully eating small meals throughout the day rather than 3 big meals may minimise the chances of reflux. It is also ideal to avoid strenuous activities and stay awake after eating.

Avoid Carbonated Drinks

Such drinks make you burp, which then sends acids into the esophagus, so try replacing them with flat water instead.

Use an Inclined Bed

When you are sleeping, it is good for your head to be 6-8 inches higher than your feet. Extra-tall bed risers and foam wedges are suitable for these. Do not stack pillows as these do not provide the uniform support you need.

Check Medications

Ask your doctor if the medications you are taking irritate the esophagus and seek advice on what you can do about them.

Wear Loose Clothing

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia outlines the different methods to help acid reflux including wearing loose clothing around your waist.

How to Help Acid Reflux with Treatments at Home?

The following home remedies may help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.

Drink Ginger Tea

According to Healthline, an American website and provider of health information, small doses of ginger may relieve gastrointestinal irritation. So, it may minimise the chances of stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus. Ginger is commercially available as a powder which you can make into tea at home.

Try an Apple Cider Vinegar Mixture

Phenix Health, which delivers online health services 24/7, published an article about the many benefits of apple cider vinegar. One is relieving the symptoms of indigestion and increasing stomach acid production which helps in breaking down food. However, it is best to dilute it by adding water to avoid damaging your throat and esophagus. 

Sip an Aloe Vera Juice

The Geelong Medical & Health Group, which provides a wide range of services, states in one of its blogs that aloe vera juice relieves the symptoms of acid reflux.

How to Help Acid Reflux with Medicines?

Over-the-counter and prescription medicines are available to act as a first aid for acid reflux.

Medicines, OTC or prescription, help treat acid reflux.

Ask a Pharmacist about Over-the-Counter Medicines

Seek advice from a pharmacist about the following proton pump inhibitors that do not need a prescription.

  • Rabeprazole
  • Pantoprazole 
  • Esomeprazole
  • Omeprazole

Such medicines are ideal for a few weeks only and may have side effects so it’s good to ask a pharmacist about these.

Consider Taking Prescription Medicines

A GP may prescribe the following medicines for your acid reflux.

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
  • H2 Receptor Blockers
  • Prokinetic Agents

Follow the labels and a doctor’s instructions when taking these, keep them properly, or store them in your first aid kit.

What to do During an Acid Reflux Attack?

NPS MedicineWise, a website by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, explains the management of reflux and heartburn. It is ideal to take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) before breakfast if your symptoms occur during the day. If it happens at night, then taking it before your evening meal may be good. This method is best for those who have frequent or severe symptoms but others only need to apply the above lifestyle changes.

How to Prevent Acid Reflux?

Unfortunately, around 1 in 5 Australians regularly experience acid reflux or heartburn as per the NPS MedicineWise. But, you may prevent it by applying the above lifestyle changes and following the recommendations of Healthdirect, an information service the Australian government funds.

  • Eat your last meal of the day 2 to 3 hours before bed
  • Avoid lying down or exercising soon after eating
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes and belts 

A GP may provide additional tips on how to prevent acid reflux.

Conclusion

Lifestyle changes, home remedies, and medicines may help acid reflux. It is best to consult a health professional before applying such treatments for proper guidance. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 Australians suffer from acid reflux but eating your dinner early before bed, resting after meals, and avoiding tight-fitting clothes may help prevent it.

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