Is Your Lifestyle Making Your GERD Symptoms Worse?

Occasional heartburn may accompany some form of excess, such as overeating or various combinations of food and drink. As long as these episodes are few and far between, there’s little to worry about. 

For those who have mild heartburn twice a week or more, or who experience moderate to severe acid reflux at least once a week, heartburn escalates to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

While it’s often possible to treat GERD with over-the-counter medications and changes to your lifestyle, some people require stronger drugs or even surgery to manage their symptoms. 

Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center specializes in GERD treatment, so if your home care efforts aren’t producing the relief you want, check in with one of their five offices in the Greater Detroit area. 

In the meantime, take a look at your lifestyle and habits to see if you have an easy opportunity to suppress your symptoms. 

Causes behind GERD

It’s accurate to consider GERD simply the frequent recurrence of acid reflux, but when it’s too frequent or uncontrolled, GERD may cause complications that occasional acid reflux likely won’t. GERD can cause serious damage to the esophagus, including changes leading to cancer. 

Acid reflux and GERD result from the failure of the lower esophageal sphincter. This band of muscle normally permits only one-way movement of food into the stomach, while preventing stomach contents from backwashing into the esophagus. When the sphincter fails at this, stomach acid can create the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. 

Lifestyle conditions affecting GERD

Unlike other forms of relaxation, it’s not a good thing when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes, for that’s when acid reflux happens. You may have conditions that trigger this relaxation, such as foods or drinks you consume, or how you consume them. 

GERD relief might be as simple as altering your behavior or limiting the intake of some of these triggers. Here are several common situations that can make your GERD symptoms worse. 

Excess caffeine

Coffee, tea, cola, and even chocolate can deliver caffeine into your system. For some, it’s a chemical that relaxes the sphincter and releases stomach acid. Try cutting back on the high-test versions or substituting with decaffeinated versions of your favorites. If caffeine isn’t your difficulty, keep a food and drink diary to identify possible GERD triggers. 

Snack timing

There’s something luxurious about a decadent midnight snack. However, eating within two hours of bedtime could aggravate GERD because of the gravity assist that stomach acid gains when you lie down. The snack itself may trigger stomach acid production, so there’s more potential for reflux. 

Overindulging

You wait all year for a Thanksgiving turkey or an Easter ham, and those meals connect with good times and good memories. It’s easy to overeat with so many favorites on the table before you, and overeating is almost a part of tradition. The overload, though, could come back to haunt you. 

If you ease your intake to let your body cope with the feast, you reduce your reflux chances. 

Other habits like smoking or alcohol binges can also cause conditions that accelerate acid reflux, and there are even physical issues that contribute to GERD. 

When you can’t get a handle on the heartburn, contact Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center for specialized assistance. You can call the nearest office or request an appointment online. The solution to GERD may come sooner than you think. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

My Baby Has an Ear Infection. Now What?

Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses affecting young children. Despite how frequently they occur, there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about them, and prompt treatment is important, especially for your baby.

Complications of Chronic Cough

Everybody coughs. It’s a normal body function, but one that’s usually intermittent or that accompanies an illness before vanishing again. Chronic coughs, however, can be cause for concern when lasting longer than eight weeks.

Common Voice Disorders

When you open your mouth to speak but a stranger’s voice emerges, you’ve got a voice disorder. There are several common causes that interfere with your ability to control your voice in the way you normally do.

Life After Hearing Aids

Life after you’re prescribed hearing aids can be exciting and fulfilling, as you regain confidence in your ability to communicate. There is, however, an adjustment period that some people must navigate before they get the full benefits.

Why Does My Child Keep Getting Ear Infections?

Ear infections are common childhood illnesses and for some, it may seem like a non-stop cycle. When your child seems to have more than their share of ear infections, it may come down to the physiology of their young bodies.

5 Types of Head and Neck Cancer

Five primary types of cancer affect the head and neck and fall under the care of ear, nose, and throat specialists. Each is named for the part of the body where they occur. Most cases start with changes to squamous cells.