Medication Makes Your Acid Reflux Even Worse – Here’s What Really Helps
Acid reflux makes eating and digestion hard for many people. These digestive issues cause heart burn, a sore throat, burping, sensations of fullness, bloating, and coughing. Most modern doctors believe that acid reflux is caused by excessive levels of stomach acid backing up into the esophagus after a meal. However, some new research is suggesting that common ways of treating acid reflux may not actually be effective afterall.
The Problem With Acid Reflux Medications
Most popular acid reflux medications are designed to dampen acid production in the stomach. Unfortunately, most proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that are used to treat acid reflux are not entirely beneficial. When stomach acid production is lowered, it is harder for the body to properly digest foods and function naturally. People who take PPIs for a while tend to overproduce gastrin, a hormone that can actually cause excess stomach acid as soon as people stop taking the PPI. Another issue is that harmful bacteria are able to flourish after PPIs lower acidity along the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to the nausea and headaches commonly associated with PPI intake, medical research is finding that PPIs may be linked to a variety of other medical conditions.
For example, researchers at the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science found that people who consumed PPIs were almost twice as likely to die prematurely. The exact reason of this increased risk of fatal kidney damage is unclear, but researchers suspect that the kidneys could become damaged over time due to the tissue inflammation caused by PPIs.
Treating Acid Reflux Through Lifestyle Changes
Instead of being caused by excessive stomach acid, most acid reflux is actually caused by a malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter. This valve separates the stomach from the esophagus, and when it does not close properly, stomach acid can travel to the esophagus and damage it. Fortunately, many malfunctioning esophageal sphincters can be fixed with lifestyle changes. People should avoid lying down after eating a meal because that position allows the sphincter to remain open. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight, since excess body fat can put pressure on the sphincter. Stress has also been associated with malfunctioning sphincters, so some people find that meditation and stress management techniques can greatly lessen acid reflux. You can chew gum right before eating a meal to lessen acid reflux, and this works because chewing gum stimulates saliva production which helps to digest food before it even reaches the stomach.
Easing Acid Reflux NATURALLY
If the acid reflux is being caused by excess stomach acid, you do not need to immediately use medication to solve this issue. The stomach tends to produce excess acid because it mistakenly believes that there will be a large amount of food for it to digest. Instead of rapidly eating, you should slowly chew your food so that your stomach does not assume that more food is about to suddenly be dumped into the stomach. Fatty foods should be avoided because they prevent the stomach from emptying, so it continues to produce acid. Caffeinated beverages, carbonated sodas, and alcohol can also trigger excessive acid production. Instead of eating and drinking these problematic items, you should focus on consuming dark leafy greens and acidic foods. Vegetables provide fiber that aids in digestion, and they also contain chemical compounds that help to prime the digestive system. Acidic foods like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can increase lower esophageal sphincter sensitivity, signaling it to close before the stomach starts producing acid.
Supplements That Can Help to Manage Acid Reflux
In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, some common supplements can help to ease the symptoms and causes of acid reflux. This condition can be caused by a calcium deficiency, so you should make sure that you are getting adequate amounts either with your diet or a vitamin supplement. Calcium is particularly useful for calming the painful symptoms of heart burn. Herbs that have been linked to reduced acid reflux include:
With these steps, you may be able to treat the actual cause of acid reflux, instead of just dampening uncomfortable symptoms. Changing lifestyle habits and altering your diet may be just as beneficial as pharmaceutical drugs with unpleasant side effects. However, if chest pain and other digestion issues persist, your symptoms may be caused by another issue, so you should see a doctor as soon as possible.