How are you all on this fine day?
I have had a request for a post on my experience with GERD and how I manage it day to day from the lovely Kristine (Thanks lady! :-)) and I’m happy to share that with ya and hopefully anyone else dealing with any form of acid reflux can gain something from this post as well.
I also was asked by a reader or two whether I was taking questions now that I started that “Work With Me” section and the answer is a big fat YES! Please remember that that section is not going to take away from my blog whatsoever. You guys inspire my posts so never be thinking that I will ignore questions now that I started that. Think of that section as something separate from my bloggy and ask and comment away. I want to make sure my posts are still relevant to you all so I love when you all ask questions and make requests.
So now onto something a lil fire-yyy.
Dat GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
Because I want to share my own experiences and ways I deal with it, I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of what it is, but go to this site for a better understanding if you would like.
To be brief though, GERD or acid reflux is where the liquids from your gastrointestinal tract (which contain digestive enzymes and acid among other things) comes back up into the esophagus and often causes a burning feeling due to it literally inflaming and damaging the esophageal lining. That heartburn sensation is the most common complaint associated with GERD but there are a host of other possible symptoms depending on your specific body and case.
Not a nice feeling when your throat and chest feel like they are on fire…
So what do you do about it?
Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to get rid of it as it’s not curable. Sometimes it can show up temporarily, such as in some pregnancies or can be caused by medications, but in most cases where GERD is diagnosed in an individual, they are stuck with it for life. There are prescription medications and even surgeries that can help sometimes, but it is often a turn to your diet and lifestyle that will better allow you to manage your symptoms on a daily basis. You just need to learn your triggers and then try your best to avoid them.
Oh and don’t load up on antacids. Too much is not good for you. Read the bottle, it says so.
Yes I know…another trial and error process. Oh body, why must you be so complicated?
So what’s my story?
I will be brief (pinky promise!) and then share what has seemed to work for me.
There are lots of things out there that you are told to avoid in order to manage your symptoms, but always remember that everybody is different and some things may be okay for some and not for others. Here are some of the things I have experienced.
Don’t eat spicy foods. Have you seen my food? I rebel against this rule and haven’t noticed that spicy food ever leads to more acid reflux symptoms.
Eat smaller meals. This one was tricky. Yes being overly full can lead to more reflux, but for me specifically, eating too often led to my digestion getting thrown off. So I traded off and do 4 meals a day.
Eat slowly. This stops you from overeating, which leads to greater acid production and greater regurgitation of that acid due to stomach distension.
Take a walk after your meal. This can help ease the digestion process and get things moving and empty the stomach quicker. This does help. However, don’t get all crazy and go for a run because that causes the opposite as your stomach as not emptied enough yet and if you don’t end up puking, you will definitely get heartburn at least.
Don’t eat too much sugar, processed food, etc. I can’t say much for this because I don’t eat those on the regular, but I always vouch for limiting those in your diet (moderation not rejection!) anyhow because they don’t provide much nutritional benefits.
Don’t lie down when you are having heartburn. This is very true. When you lie down, it better allows the acid to creep up as gravity helps to pull it down. If you’re going to sit down or if it’s when you’re going to bed, make sure your head is elevated to try to alleviate it a bit.
Lose weight. This may be the case for some as obesity tends to be associated with acid reflux symptoms. Apparently when you are overweight, the sphincter gets lazy or more relaxed. For myself, this is not the case, so once again, take at look at your own situation. If you are overweight, it can help to loose weight.
Other foods that are suggested to be avoided..
Onions and Garlic. Ooooh my favourites. I love raw onion in a salad but I do find I have issues if I over do it. These two are also high FODMAP and thus may also cause digestive issues as well.
Peppermint. I drink peppermint a ton and love it but I do find that I can get heartburn from it occasionally. It’s not that bad so I drink it anyways EXCEPT if the acid is already there or I’m feeling very distended from my last meal.
Alcohol and Smoking. Both are relaxants and thus can relax that sphincter which you don’t want.
Caffeine. I learned this after realizing my daily afternoon green tea was causing me to get heartburn EVERY DAY. It was a hard thing to give up let me tell you. I can’t imagine how coffee would make someone feel…
Bubbly or carbonated drinks. YES YES and YES. Not only do they cause me to bloat like crazy, but they also give me heartburn. Avoid.
Fatty Foods. Apparently these relax the sphincter and increase acid that comes back up. Additionally, fat is a slower digesting macronutrient and thus delays stomach emptying. Personally, I haven’t found that eating fattier foods, like high fat fish, etc to cause that, but perhaps there is a connection between the type of fat in these high fat foods? Maybe things like high trans fats and possible some saturated may cause more reflux over those healthier ones like mono and poly-unsaturated varieties.
I hope that helps you Kristine and anyone else who has to deal with these symptoms. If you have any other questions, throw them in the comment box below. :-)
Let us all be fire free…Or maybe not because then maybe one of these guys will come put it out…
Anyone watch this show?
Sorry for my few male readers out there, my girls needed their dose of guy-candy. It’s been a while.