Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels up the oesophagus, irritating the lining leading to heartburn. It can affect anyone of any age, however there are certain triggers that can aggravate it.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
The most common symptom of heartburn is the burning sensation in the middle of your chest. Other symptoms include:
- An unpleasant sour taste in the mouth
- A cough or hiccups that keep coming back
- A hoarse voice
- Bad breath
- Bloating and nausea
Causes of Acid Reflux
It is important to remember that different causes trigger acid reflux in people, so you should identify your own personal triggers. Keeping a log can help you to do this.
There are different dietary and lifestyle causes:
Dietary causes of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter relaxes, and acid escapes the stomach. Certain foods can trigger acid reflux:
1. Fried and fatty foods
3. Garlic and onions
4. Caffeinated beverages
5. Acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes
6. Spicy foods
Lifestyle causes of Acid Reflux
- Poor posture– slouching after a meal can encourage acid to leave your stomach and travel up your oesphagus.
- Exercising too soon after a meal– exercising on a full stomach can lead to pressure increasing on your sphincter, potentially resulting in acid reflux.
- Smoking- Smoking relaxes the oesophageal sphincter that keeps acid out of the stomach.
- Obesity/weight gain– Excess weight can increase abdominal pressure, increasing the likelihood of stomach acid leakage.
- Sleep- Lying in a horizontal position can make it easier for acid to creep through to the oesophagus, especially if your stomach is still digesting food. Avoid eating before you go to bed.
How to minimise your risk of Acid Reflux
- Avoid eating close to bedtime.
- Don’t lie down soon after eating as your body will still be digesting the food. Lying horizontally can encourage the acid to leave your stomach and travel upwards.
- Don’t eat large meals- eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day may make a difference.
- Avoid trigger foods that can aggravate symptoms
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
- Don’t smoke.
- Maintain good posture.
- Cut down on tea, coffee, fizzy drinks
- Minimise alcohol consumption
- Prop your head and shoulders up in bed to avoid lying horizontally
- Regular exercise to minimise excess fat around the stomach
- Avoid trigger foods
- Eat less than 3 hours before going to bed
- Exercise on a full stomach
- Eat excessive spicy foods
- Wear tight clothing