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Reflux Lifestyle Changes

In some people, irritating acid stomach juices may leak out of the stomach and into the esophagus and throat. This can cause irritation and muscle spasm in the throat. Some of the symptoms that people often get from this include: cough, burning or soreness, hoarseness, throat clearing, excess mucus, bad taste, and a sensation of a lump in the throat.

The following instructions are designed to help neutralize the stomach, reduce the production of acid, and prevent acid from coming up in the esophagus. You should use as many of these suggestions as needed to get relief. IF THESE MEASURES DO NOT HELP OR IF YOUR SYMPTOMS GET WORSE, YOU SHOULD LET US KNOW ABOUT IT.

  1. Diet modifications help control symptoms. A small bland diet divided into multiple small feedings is recommended. You should avoid highly seasoned food that is either very hot or very cold. Care should be taken to chew food properly.
  2. Alcohol, tobacco (Nicotine), coffee (caffeine), chocolate, peppermint, as well as spicy foods, tomato, citrus, and fried foods are irritants to the esophagus and should be avoided. Alcohol and coffee also stimulate stomach secretions. Also, it is important to monitor for your particular reflux triggers. This list is not exhaustive, and other foods not listed here may be problematic for you.
  3. There should be 3-4 hours between eating and lying down, whether sleeping, reading, or watching TV. If you are prescribed a medication for reflux symptoms, take it 30 minutes before food or drink.
  4. For night-time relief, sleep with the head of your bed elevated since symptoms are more likely to occur if you lie flat. The best way to achieve elevation is to place cinder blocks, wood, or bricks, under the legs at the head of your bed. The desired elevation ranges from 4 to 11 inches, with 8 inches being a typical average. Sometimes, sleeping on your right side prevents distressing attacks. Using a wedge under the box springs or a foam wedge under your pillow is a desirable alternative.
  5. Clothing that fits tightly across the mid-section of the body should be avoided. Women should not wear a girdle. Men should not wear a belt, but use suspenders instead. The use of "abdominal supporting belts" should also be avoided.
  6. Do not bend or stoop any more than absolutely necessary, especially immediately following meals. This includes activities such as gardening and exercises requiring lifting or bending.
  7. Maintaining a relaxed attitude in your activities helps to reduce symptoms.

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