Say No To Heart Burn: How To Prevent GERD?

What Is GERD?
Gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid keeps flowing back in to your esophagus (a tube that connects mouth to the stomach). Frequent reflux of acid can irritate the lining of your esophagus, which if left untreated can cause bleeding, ulcers and chronic scarring.

What Causes GERD?
Acid reflux is caused when circular band of muscles at the end of the food pipe called the esophageal sphincter doesn’t contract when it is supposed to, which causes some of the acid containing contents of your stomach to leak back in to your mouth. Acid reflux is usually associated with a distinct symptom, commonly referred to as heart burn, which is a burning pain in your chest, behind the breast bone. Persistent acid reflux leads to GERD.

How Can One Prevent GERD?
GERD can be easily prevented with a few simple life style changes. Here are few tips that will reduce the frequency of acid reflux:

Lifestyle Changes

  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. After eating, wait for at least 3 hours before going to bed.
  4. Keep your head in an elevated position when sleeping. But, make sure that you are comfortable, otherwise it can strain your neck.
  5. Avoid clothes that are tight on your belly. Tight clothing can squeeze your stomach, improving the chances of acid reflux.
  6. Quit smoking

Changes in Diet

  1. Eat frequent smaller meals. Avoid eating too much in one sitting.
  2. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
  3. Avoid foods that trigger acid reflux.
  4. Avoid fatty foods and reduce your daily fat intake by cutting out butter, oils, salad dressings, gravy and high fat meat.
  5. Cut back from spicy food.
  6. Avoid alcohol as much as you can.

Usually OTC medication are used to treat GERD or acid reflux. Some OTC medications for acid reflux are also available in a prescription strength. Here is a brief description of some common acid reflux tablets:

  1. Lansoprazole Capsule
    Lansoprazole is a gastrointestinal medication indicated for common stomach problems like acid reflux, heart burn or ulcers. Lansoprazole is a prescription drug but its lower strengths is also available OTC.

  2. Omeprazole Capsule
    Omeprazole, which is available in UK registered online pharmacies, under the brand name Losec capsule, is the most common medication used for acid reflux. It is available in the form of a capsule or as a liquid suspension. Delayed-released capsules and suspensions are also available but they require a prescription.