Tired of Swallowing Fire? Tips For Slowing The GERD Burn ...

"Feel the burn"... when said in exercise is a great thing... but when referring to the burn that is Acid Reflux and GERD, well then, the saying takes on a whole new meaning.

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I would venture to say we all get heartburn from time to time (spicy nachos with a side of jalapenos???). However, if you find yourself "feeling the burn" more frequently or popping OTC medicine such as Tums a lot... it is probably time to be seen by a medical professional to see if something more is going on.  

The two most common symptoms of GERD are:

Chronic Heartburn 

Acid Reflux 


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The good news is there are tons of ways to combat the burn, here are a few tips from morning till night... 

Morning/Breakfast
Eat a small breakfast

Avoid coffee (even decaf), strong tea  

Don't wear tight clothes... tight waist bands, belts that don't fit, pantyhose


Lunch

Avoid spicy foods

Avoid acidic foods such as grapefruit (you should be avoiding grapefruit juice if you are taking certain medications such as Zoloft, BuSpar, Lipitor and several others that can be found here), oranges, tomatoes, vinegar. 

Cut back (or avoid) colas

Slow down... put the fork down between bites


Night 

Avoid eating before bed, try to eat 2-3 hours ahead of going to sleep

Put blocks or bricks under your bed posts to raise the head of your bed about 6" (so you can sleep elevated)

Try a wedge pillow 
Exercise

Is your heartburn really bad after exercise? Drink plenty of water - it assists with hydration and digestion (suggestions vary, but about 24 oz or 3 cups is a good amount to drink). 

Try to wait 2 hours after eating before working out

Again... avoid tight workout clothes 


Because GERD is primarily a stomach issue, it makes sense that perhaps there are major links between the foods we eat and this condition. 

There is research out there that suggests acid reflux and GERD can be directly linked to gluten intolerance. One such study comes from the Gluten Free Society and can be read here

As this study suggests, patients with gastric diseases should be screened for Celiac Disease as they are often linked. It is important to ask for the right tests as the typical celiac blood tests have a high rate of false negatives. That is why genetic testing is now being suggested as it cannot be skewed by diet or blood test discrepancies. 


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Also, there are links between acid reflux and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) that can be read on Healthline.com here.  As the article states IBS and GERD often co-exist suggesting the conditions share a common disease mechanism (the biological mechanisms that lead to the diseased state).  

For further reading, I came across Until The Thin Lady Sings blog and this blog post that has a ton of information! Also, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders offers a plethora of great information. 

Sources Cited: 

Prevention Magazine 

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