According to the American College of Gastroenterology, approximately 60 million Americans experience acid reflux at least once per month.
Also known as heartburn, indigestion, or pyrosis, acid reflux is a relatively common condition. It can cause severe discomfort in the lower chest area.
But can you get rid of acid reflux? The good news is, you can. And we’re going to tell you how in this quick guide to acid reflux treatment.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Your stomach contains a strong acid called hydrochloric acid. It’s this acid that breaks down your food. And while the stomach lining protects it from this acid, the esophagus doesn’t have this same protection.
So, when stomach acid flows into the esophagus, the result is a burning pain in the lower chest. This typically occurs immediately after or in the hours after eating.
How Can You Get Rid of Acid Reflux?
Treating acid reflux depends on how severe and consistent the condition is. While dietary changes and antacids may work for occasional, mild acid reflux, those with a chronic condition need stronger treatments and lifestyle changes.
1. Dietary Changes
Certain foods and drinks are more likely to cause acid reflux than others. Foods and drinks you should avoid include:
- acidic juices
- carbonated drinks
- table salt
A diet that’s low in dietary fiber may also increase the risk of acid reflux. So too does eating large meals.
If you have mild or infrequent acid reflux, you may try taking antacids. These are over-the-counter acid reflux treatments available in liquid and tablet forms.
Antacids work by reducing the acidity in your stomach. However, these won’t work for everybody and it’s best to speak with your doctor before treating acid reflux this way.
3. Other Simple Acid Reflux Treatments
There are some things you can do before or after eating to reduce the risk of acid reflux. For example, give yourself 2 to 3 hours before lying down after you’ve eaten. This reduces the possibility of stomach acid flowing up your food pipe.
You can also try putting blocks under your head while you sleep or sleeping in a chair if you need a nap during the day. These practices also reduce the chance that stomach acid flows back up the esophagus while laying down.
If you’re experiencing acid reflux more than two times per week on average, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition requires more powerful treatments, such as medications.
The most common medications for GERD are PPIs or H2 blockers. These reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach as well as reduce any damage done by the condition. Among PPIs, Aciphex is a common medication, which you can order now.
5. Reduce Risk Factors
Common risk factors for GERD include obesity, smoking, and low levels of physical exercise. It follows that reducing these risk factors reduces the chance of experiencing acid reflux. That means quitting smoking, taking steps to change your diet, and getting more exercise.
More On Your Health
So, can you get rid of acid reflux? You absolutely can.
The acid reflux treatment that’s right for you will depend on the severity of your condition. You may be able to control it with antacids but you may require more serious lifestyle changes.
And for more help with your health, check out our Health and Fitness section.