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Explaining Acid Reflux Symptom Fluctuations | Stop Acid Reflux Now

Explaining Acid Reflux Symptom Fluctuations

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Have you changed your diet and are now eating foods that lower your chances of experiencing acid reflux, but are finding little to no improvement in your acid reflux symptoms after you eat?  If so, the problem may not be the food you are eating; it could be your actual eating habits and/or be related to stress.

The food you eat isn’t the only culprit of acid reflux.  There are other factors that could lead to fluctuations in acid reflux symptoms including:

The way you eat – When you eat your meals, do you…

- Eat small portions?
- Eat slowly?
- Sit down with a straight posture?

If you have answered “No” to any of these questions, then the way you are eating your meals could be one of the reasons why you are still experiencing symptoms.  Therefore, you need to begin eating smaller and more frequent meals instead of eating three large meals per day.  Smaller amount of food decreases the acid your stomach needs to secrete to handle digestion, which decreases the chance of excess acid being refluxed into the esophagus.

In addition, by slowly eating and sitting down with a straight posture, you help remove stress from your lower esophageal sphincter (LES ), which can occur if you are eating hunched over, while moving, or eating too quickly.

Your actions directly after eating – After you eat do you do any of the following…

- Lie down or go to bed?
- Exercise?
- Engage in vigorous activities including bending?

These activities slow down the digestion process which increases your chances of acid reflux, as well as other digestive problems including constipation.  The problem with slow digestion is it can cause delayed gastric emptying.  In other words, the food stays in the stomach too long before it is released into the small intestine.  Thus, there is a greater risk that the contents in the stomach will be pushed back up into the esophagus and result in heartburn.

It takes several hours for your food to digest, but the first hour or two after you eat is a crucial part of the process, because the food is still in your stomach.   While food remains in your stomach, there is a greater chance of acid reflux occurring.  That is why you should eat/drink at least 3 hours before going to bed, and why you should not lie down directly after you eat.

In addition, when you exercise (I.E. aerobics, vigorous walking, swimming, sit-ups, etc.), or excessively bend or move around directly after eating, you not only place stress on your LES , you are also slowing down the digestive process because you are taking blood (energy) away from your digestive tract, which is required to properly digest the food you’ve eaten.

What you wear – Believe it or not, but your favorite corset that helps slim your figure, or the tight belt that you wear for fashion or to help keep your pants secure, maybe causing you acid reflux symptoms.  Wearing tight garments, especially when you are eating, places a lot of pressure on you LES , encouraging acid reflux.  Therefore, loosen your belt, undo the button of your pants, and remove that garter belt or corset before sitting down to your next meal.  You will notice a difference in the way you feel during and after you eat.

Your level of stress – everyone needs a little stress in their life to help keep them motivated so they can get necessary tasks done.  However, when it comes to stress there is a happy medium.  Too much stress can have a negative effect on both your physical and mental wellbeing.    In fact, stress can lead to acid reflux by:

- Slowing down digestion.  When you are stressed your body responds to it by sending more blood to the muscles to help combat stress, taking energy needed for digestion.

- Embracing bad habits.  When stressed it is common for a person to eat salty, sweet and fatty foods, drink more alcohol, smoke more, or engage in other habits that increase the risk of acid reflux.

If you find that you are stressed, you need to apply stress management tactics (I.E. relax, vent to a friend, engage in an activity you enjoy, etc.) to combat stress.   If you do not find ways to release bottled up stress, it will find other ways to release itself, such as through acid reflux.

By sticking to your anti-acid reflux diet, changing the way you eat, and by applying some stress management tactics to your lifestyle, you’ll experience acid reflux symptoms less frequently or prevent them altogether.

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8 Responses

  1. gilbert passarella
    February 19th, 2009 | 2:03 pm

    hi kate: your statement about acid reflux very informative and helpful. thanks, gil passarella

  2. Lois
    February 19th, 2009 | 11:46 pm

    In your article you say eating smaller meals more often reduces acid reflux and one should finish eating about 3 hours before bedtime. I agree, but I am diabetic so when I finish a small meal 3 hours before bedtime I can’t keep my blood sugar up through the night.

  3. afsharnejad
    February 21st, 2009 | 5:46 am

    My daughter has taken all the steps to stop her stomach reflux,but no improvement.
    She is now in the 2nd year of medical treatment.
    She may have to go under surgery according to her doctor statement,but we are worried about the results.

  4. spage
    April 11th, 2009 | 3:32 am

    To afsharnejad,

    I had a friend who had surgery (i.e., fundoplication) and he is doing great. I wouldn’t let the surgery bother you if you choose to take that route.

  5. Toby Green
    March 11th, 2010 | 7:44 am

    I’d like to try your suggestion of eating smaller meals during the day, however I get severe reflux that gets worse when I move (and I do mean any movement). I would not be able to get through the day if I ate several small meals. I’ve had to reduce my intake to only 2 meals a day -so that I can at least walk from the car park to the office (& back again). I find I get reflux no matter what I eat, how big or small. Been like this for 2½ years. No medication works, no diet works, nothing seems to work. Over it.

  6. fran
    March 10th, 2011 | 6:40 am

    i’ve suffered from severe acid reflux for years and i’ve recently tried prebiotics(digestive enzymes) and probiotics. They work wonders! anyone who has acid reflux should try them!

  7. Byron Sagastume
    August 16th, 2011 | 12:37 pm

    Hi Kate, I found this article, when looking for answers for my problem, it was a blessing; You know, I’m doing everything wrong, big meals, eat fast, lay down after, I’m stressed and go to bed right after dinner. However, you are not specific about what CAN be done, like, should I walk after meals? Just seat? Someone told me It’s not healthy to read after meals? Please give me some ideas, I don’t like TV. That much, but reading I could do, please, let me know what you think…

    Thank you so much…

  8. August 16th, 2011 | 2:18 pm

    Hi Bryon
    Thanks for your comment. There are lots of posts on the blog that deal with treating acid reflux symptoms naturally. However, here are a few highlights for you to give you taste:

    • Eliminating foods and beverages that trigger reflux (I.E. spicy and fatty foods, citrus and tomato products, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, etc.)
    • Eating smaller meals more frequently and not gulping food. Chew food thoroughly to start the digestion process.
    • Not eating 2-3 hours prior to bed and sleeping with head and shoulders elevated about 3-6 inches (you can do this either through propping yourself up on pillows or raising the head of your bed by putting something under the feet - just make sure it’s stable).
    • Losing excess pounds if you are overweight or obese
    • Stop smoking and avoid smoky environments where you can breathe in a lot of second hand smoke
    • Wear non-constricting clothing (I.E. avoid corsets, belts, tight pants, etc.)
    • Reduce stress levels as this can lead to behavior that encourages acid reflux.

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