If you suffer from acid reflux disease, Christmas may be synonymous with heartburn for you. Large meals, rich food, alcoholic drinks and lots of chocolate exacerbate acid reflux related symptoms like heartburn and food regurgitation.
Dr. Darido, acid reflux specialist, at Houston heartburn and Reflux Center, recommends avoiding trigger foods as much as possible to limit heartburn. Acid reflux trigger foods are not the same for all patients. Most common trigger food items include fried chicken, tomato sauce, peppers and spices, lemon juice, chocolate and coffee. Smoking and alcohol are important triggers for acid reflux and particularly harmful bad for GERD patients. In the setting of acid reflux, smoking increases the risk of Barrett’s esophagus leading to esophageal cancer. Dr. Darido further recommends eating smaller meals more frequently. Chewing food slowly improves digestion and increase salivary secretion. Giving yourself 3 to 4 hours prior to lying down after a meal and raising the head of the bed helps prevent nighttime acid reflux symptoms.
Dr. Darido further warns against the indiscriminate use of proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec and Dexilant. A number of acid reflux patients tend to load up on proton pump inhibitors prior to a holiday meal. Proton pump inhibitors do not stop acid reflux. These medications simply mask acid reflux symptoms giving you the illusion that gastric content is not refluxing back into the esophagus. In reality, reflux is occurring and damage to the esophagus is happening. In addition, Proton pump inhibitors are associated with a number of serious side effects. If you are dependent on proton pump inhibitors to control your symptoms, it is time to get evaluated by a competent acid reflux specialist.