My practice is full of people who suffer from common reflux symptoms to look for ways to feel better. Many of the "best advices" they have to solve the problem that affects up to 28 percent of Americans are linked to strict dietary restrictions that not only affect their lifestyle. They also do not have much strong evidence behind them.
There are now a variety of medications available in the market to treat reflux – spending in the US for drugs such as proton pump inhibitors (PPI) amount to $ 7 billion annually – many patients either do not want to depend on medication or are worried about possible side effects.
This is important treatment of reflux, also known as GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux The symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, sour taste in the mouth and / or chest discomfort.The pain and discomfort caused by GERD can negatively affect many aspects of life, including sleep and workplace productivity Chronic GERD is also a risk factor for the development of a serious condition such as Barrett's esophagus (a precancerous se change of lining of the esophagus) and even esophageal cancer. However, you may be surprised at what you do and you do not have to do it to handle it.
A classic case of reflux
For example, Spencer, a 27-year-old man who came to me with daily reflux symptoms, remembers a few episodes of heartburn when he was in college; mainly after long evenings with friends eating pizza and drinking beer. This has not happened to him for years, but now he is looking in the morning for TUMS and over-the-counter medicines for heartburn. He was sometimes awakened from sleep with burning in his chest and neck. He has a tiring job in the financial industry, can work late, and attends business lunches at least two nights a week, which can be difficult and contain alcohol. On other evenings he tries to go to the gym after work and often eats late, sometimes just before going to bed. He has heard of GERD and has read a lot about how to alleviate his symptoms.
Most books and articles contain frightening lists of changes in diet and lifestyle. He loves his Starbucks in the morning and can not imagine giving up red sauce and wine. Changes in diet make normal life seem impossible. He has at times taken on the counter-PPIs like Prilosec, but he hates to feel like an "old man" who needs medication. Spencer wants to know, as do many of my other patients, what he really needs to avoid in order to help with the reflux. And what else can he eat?
What you could do Not Need to avoid reflux
Several drinks and foods were included in the aggravation of GERD symptoms, including coffee, fizzy drinks, alcohol, citrus fruits, and tomato products Foods that are fried or sour. How strong is the evidence-based data on these dietary changes? To be honest, the data is at best sparse and contradictory. These foods and drinks should not be a problem:
- Coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol. A recent meta-analysis examining the effect of coffee on heartburn and esophageal damage revealed no association between coffee intake and disease activity. This applies to both low and high (> 5 cups / day) coffee drinkers. Also, the consumption of carbonated drinks does not correlate with clinical GERD symptoms. Mixed results were also observed with alcohol. Some studies show an increase in acid reflux by ingesting wine or beer compared to tap water, while others report a reduction of reflux symptoms with alcohol consumption.
- Sour and fried foods. The data on these foods and on GERD are equally weak. Often acidic foods such as citrus and tomato-based products and fried foods are mentioned, but there is no compelling data to support it.
Given the lack of convincing evidence that avoiding certain food and drink triggers can slow the symptoms of reflux relying on a strict restrictive diet may not be necessary. As always, it is best to be in contact with your body. If there are certain foods that you believe have reflux under all circumstances, avoid them. However, if you have not identified any triggers, you may not feel guilty or obliged to restrict yourself to dieting.
What you should Should you give up to avoid returns
If certain foods do not need to be given up, is there anything specific that you should give up to prevent GERD? Yes, when it comes to this:
- Smoking. Apart from the countless obvious reasons for giving up smoking, smoking is associated with the tightening of reflux, and smoking cessation is associated with a reduction in reflux symptoms. The vaping is not yet pronounced, but stay tuned.
- Eating near lying down. Eating at bedtime should also be avoided especially in people who experience nocturnal reflux. Try not to eat for at least 2 hours before lying down. It is definitely helpful to raise the head of the bed by 6 to 10 inches with blocks under the bedpost or to put a foam wedge under the mattress. Pillows are not effective and sleeping with the left side can make matters worse.
- Extra pounds. In people who are overweight, achieving a low weight loss is also associated with a significant reduction in reflux.
As for Spencer, he realized that nocturnal food was the culprit behind his reflux. The effort of not going to bed with a full stomach made all the difference.