I had been meaning to write this post for quite some time as I have combated with this illness so far 3 times in my life. It seems to be a common problem with a lot of people these days. It arrives slowly but then takes forever to leave. Today I am going to talk about things that lead to acidity and reflux as well as things that will help it. No this isn’t going to be like other posts where I am going to give you short term solutions or home made remedies, instead I am going to talk about lifestyle changes and breakthroughs that most people usually ignore and dont think will help. And ofcourse as always I will talk about some common misconceptions.
My first battle with acid reflux started when I was a teenager. I recall sleepless nights and becoming insomniac. I would get up and chew pieces of bread all night but the pain wont go away. This bout lasted me a good 7 months till I finally saw a doctor who hit the nail on the head. The acid and reflux wasn’t just because of my diet but it was also due to stress and anxiety! Ofcourse when we get sick we only worry more and more everyday. Which aggravates the issue further. So key point here for long time or on and off sufferers is to find ways to relax! Find activities and hobbies to make part of your lifestyle that make you happy and help you forget about your problems for a bit. I have noticed dancing, exercise and music helps me tremendously. There is always meditation and yoga. Some people like to play video games etc!
But that wasn’t the break through the doctor found she not only gave me some OTC acid blocking pills to take for 6 weeks but she also put me on anti anxiety pill for a few days as needed and lo and behold my long standing problem of 7 months went away. The same OTC pills didn’t work on their own prior to trying the anti anxiety pills. Now I am not telling you to abuse those pills. I am just saying you can always find ways to calm yourself down the natural way.
The second bout came when my doctor put me on naproxen for my foot pain. Most people know NSAID (anti inflammatory medication) tear up your stomach linning. Well a week later I was in stomach agnoy again. That is when I discovered Apple sauce. It became a breakfast staple for me every morning. Well sometimes I ate them for lunch too. Anytime I felt bad I ate them. Lo and behold the problem went away in a few weeks.
And then it happened again earlier this year. On January 3rd 2014, I realized the problem raised its ugly head again. I was put back on the meds again, both OTC and anti anxiety. I avoided taking the anxiety meds and tried to relax on my own. I stopped eating spicy food. Cut out coffee chocolate , juices and tea! Anything with flavor? forget it! No fried food nothing delicious. The pain wont go away. 6 weeks later I see my doctor again. This doctor is amazing and very positive she thought I was too young to be put on more meds and asked me a key question: “how much water do you drink?” and I realized I actually dont drink water apart from when taking meds or a glass before bed. She was shocked and I was embarrassed. I was asked to drink 8 glasses a day for 2 weeks and come back if I am not better and stop eating so clean. She wanted me to have a balanced diet.
It was really hard to drink 8 glasses a day. I was feeling extremely full and pudgy all day. Thats when I realized reading somewhere long time ago that if your stomach becomes too alkaline (ph base) your stomach produces more acid. That is where the misconception comes in. You think you are having acidity and you eat better only to make your self alittle too alkaline in your stomach. I was like let me find some french fries and add them to my diet that day at lunch. Guess what? it was like magic the pain went down! I slowly reduced the amount of water to 6 glasses and started eating a more balanced diet. And bam the problem was resolved.
Now why am I telling you all this? So you can try this out for yourself:
1) Drink more water!
2)Drink water half an hour to 20 minutes before you eat, especially if you are planning to eat something spicy or greasy. Well even coffee or chocolate. Think of it as a cleanser. It goes into your stomach and gets rid of all the toxins. So once all the acid and bad stuff is gone your stomach can start healing and feel happy.
3)If you see symptoms coming on, increase your uptake of water and cut down on extremely spicy, acidic or caffeinated products for a bit.
4) Apple sauce, the all nautral kind is a good neutralizing base to be eaten first thing in the morning while you are still experiencing symptoms for a few days.
5)Definitely raise the head of your bed for as long as your symptoms persists. I am over my pain but I am still sleeping with several pillows just in case!
6)Do not eat and lay down! Imaging all the food and acid going up your esophagus you don’t want that!
7) From my personal experience working out on a full stomach or semi full stomach brings on my pain. So now I work atleast 2.5 or 3 hours after eating.
8)Eat at regular intervals, smalls and frequent meals till the symptoms are gone. Keeping your stomach empty will aggravate the issue.
9)Wear looser clothes! Especially things that dont sit on your waist because thats where your stomach and esophagus meet. Loose pants for men. Low rise pants or better yet dresses for women.
But the main cure is RELAXATION AND WATER! these two paired together with a balanced diet will knock the socks off your acidity and reflux!
Let me know if you try this out and if it helps. Also feel free to add to comments anything that has helped you get rid of your reflux and acidity.