Anti-reflux valve, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where the acid in the stomach flows back into the esophagus causing irritation of its lining. Symptoms can include burning in the chest, chest pain, regurgitation of food into the mouth, and difficulty swallowing. Even though this disorder can be painful and irritating, it can be effectively controlled. This is by over-the-counter medications or by prescription medications prescribed by your Gastroenterologist. This is in addition to making lifestyle changes. The following are some of the most effective treatments available to manage the symptoms and discomfort.
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While diet doesn’t cause GERD, certain foods can aggravate the symptoms. Specific foods vary from person to person. Many people find that chocolate and foods that are high in fat are particularly troublesome. Alcohol and other drinks such as coffee, soda, citrus can cause excess acid production increasing GERD symptoms. In order to find out if certain foods aggravate your symptoms, eliminate one at a time to see if symptoms improve.
Another factor that may play an important part in the anti-reflux valve is the positioning of the body after eating, especially a large meal. Lying down after eating may cause food to back up into the esophagus causing heartburn and indigestion. If you find this is the case for you, try to eat at least three hours before going to bed or lying down and don’t have an after-dinner snack. It may also help to make the major meal of the day at lunchtime and have a smaller, more easily digestible meal for dinner.
Obesity also promotes GERD due to excess weight in the abdominal area. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference in the symptoms experienced. GERD during pregnancy can occur, especially in the first three months, due to hormones and the pressure of the growing baby on the stomach. If you are a smoker, then quitting may reduce your GERD symptoms since smoking decreases the function of the esophageal muscles. Finally, emotional stress and strong emotions can bring on symptoms of GERD so participating in a stress-relief program such as mindfulness or meditation may ease the symptoms.