When an individual is diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or experience symptoms such as frequent heartburn, it can be unpleasant. The GERD symptoms are not only uncomfortable and painful at times, but the constant reflux action can lead to serious health issues if not properly managed.
Luckily, there are considerations to bear in mind to plan ahead for GERD as well as minimize the risk of triggering the symptoms. Advanced and proper planning can make a big difference in the severity of symptoms as well as allow the individual to recover at a faster rate. To learn to recognize and manage digestive conditions such as GERD, sign up for first aid training here.
Determine the causes
The initial step in the planning process for GERD is to understand what causes it. There are various chemicals and ingredients present in foods and medications as well as certain conditions and behavior that are believed to play a part in the poor functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter. By knowing the suspected foods that trigger the symptoms of GERD, the individual knows what to avoid or limit. There are several foods and beverages known to trigger the symptoms.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Onion and garlic
- Coffee and tea
- Carbonated drinks
- Fried and high-fat foods
- Citrus fruits
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products
- Spicy foods
There are also several medications used in various health issues that are known to worsen GERD. A doctor must be consulted regarding alternatives. Conditions that add pressure on lower esophageal sphincter include obesity, smoking, overeating and pregnancy. Even wearing constricting clothing around the wait can cause issues.
What are the symptoms?
As long as you are aware of the specific symptoms that trigger acid reflux, timely action can be carried out to minimize the effects. Heartburn is the most common symptom and can be accompanied by a bloated sensation and burping.
The chest pain linked with heartburn can be severe in some cases that it is hard to differentiate it from a heart attack. The other symptoms might be difficult to link to the condition since they can manifest even without heartburn which includes the following:
- Bitter or sour taste
- Regurgitation of foods and fluids
- Sore throat
- Persistent coughing
- Hoarseness especially in the morning
Management of GERD symptoms
The key in properly managing GERD is to be prepared with the right solutions. Remember that you can easily control most of the symptoms with lifestyle changes.
It is important to avoid all the potential triggers. Once the doctor has determined the triggers, they should be avoided at all times.
Avoid eating large meals
Heavy meals can lead to heartburn and reflux, thus the individual should reduce the intake, especially at dinner. It is recommended to avoid lying down 3 hours after eating.
You can utilize gravity to help keep the stomach acid down at night. All you have to do is to place 4-6 inch blocks under the legs at the head part of the bed. Another option is to use a wedge-shaped pillow. Do not prop the head using regular pillows since this will only worsen the symptoms.
Cut down weight
Based on studies, cutting down on weight can help reduce the GERD symptoms. Eating a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise can cut down extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.