According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 60 million Americans experience acid reflux symptoms at least once a month.
If you’re looking for relief of acid reflux but aren’t sure where to start, you can find help at OakBend Medical Group. Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, Steven M. Thomas, MD, FACS, and Genna Lubrano, MD, have extensive experience treating chronic acid reflux symptoms in adults.
Our team offers guidance to help you prevent acid reflux. They can also recommend you for bariatric surgery to relieve pressure on your gastrointestinal tract that contributes to acid reflux.
What to know about acid reflux
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids flow back up into your esophagus. Typically, your lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to pass by, then closes to keep acids down in your stomach.
When this muscle is weak, stomach acids can flow backwards and eventually cause damage to your esophagus. This damage can increase your risk for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.
Muscle weakness that contributes to acid reflux can occur because of:
- Drinking alcohol
- Weight challenges
- Use of certain medications
- Chronic constipation
When you have chronic acid reflux, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may experience symptoms of acid reflux several times a week.
Tips for preventing acid reflux
Often, the initial treatment plan for acid reflux involves over-the-counter acid neutralizers and lifestyle changes. Here are some changes you can make now to lower your risk for acid reflux complications:
If you’re still smoking, our team can provide resources that help you stop for good.
Quitting smoking not only can reduce your acid reflux symptoms, but you can also expect many other health benefits such as having more energy and reducing your risk for cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Limit alcohol use
Since alcohol can irritate your stomach and increase the likelihood of acid reflux symptoms, you should limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
If you plan to have a few drinks, consider taking an over-the-counter medication to prevent uncomfortable heartburn and other symptoms.
Avoid trigger foods
Certain foods can trigger acid reflux symptoms. Be more mindful about what you’re eating and avoid peppermint, spicy foods, and overly rich foods to prevent acid reflux.
You should also limit how much caffeine you drink, especially before you go to bed.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight can put pressure on your stomach and esophagus and increase your risk for acid reflux and GERD. We can work with you on a diet and exercise plan that helps you lose weight safely.
When diet and exercise aren’t enough
If you have a lot of weight to lose, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery.
Our weight loss surgeons specialize in different techniques that limit how much you can eat, so you can shed extra pounds in a short period of time. We can discuss your options for weight loss surgery after a careful review of your medical history and existing health.
To learn more tips for preventing acid reflux symptoms, call OakBend Medical Group today or book an appointment online.