Heartburn and acid reflux are conditions which can cause great discomfort to an individual. In general, these problems develop due to a malfunction of the lower oesophageal sphincter. This is a ring of muscles between the oesophagus and the stomach which act as a valve. When a person swallows food, the sphincter closes of the connection after the material passes through it. Unfortunately, the sphincter can fail to close completely, or it might open too wide. If this happens, stomach acid will flow from the stomach to the oesophagus, causing heartburn and acid reflux disease. If you have been experiencing these problems, consider this short discussion on managing the symptoms of the diseases.

Change Your Eating Habits

One of the most effective ways to prevent the symptoms of acid reflux is to make changes in your diet. Typically, people with GERD develop heartburn after eating specific type of foods. You should identify your trigger foods and make changes to manage the discomfort. Common heartburn-causing foods include citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy or fatty food and tomato products. You should also reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine because these can increase the probability of developing acid reflux. You should also consider eating small meals at a time instead of large ones. Large meals distend the stomach and will interfere with the closure of the sphincter.

Improve Your Bedtime Practices

You should not eat just before bedtime if you have been experiencing acid reflux problems. When you lie down on the bed on a full stomach, the food is likely to flow upwards to the oesophagus. The result will be heartburn. When you eat early, there will be minimal food in the stomach, so the risks of symptoms developing are low. Also, you should consider propping up your head when sleeping. In simple terms, you should lie down on your bed, with the chest and head propped up above the stomach. This practice will ensure that the gravity does not pull the food and acids to the oesophagus.

Consider Losing Weight

If you are obese or overweight, you should consider losing some weight to manage the symptoms of GERD. Often, a person who is above the recommended body mass will experience serious acid reflux due to the additional pressure exerted on the stomach by the weight. By shedding a couple of kilograms, the symptoms of acid reflux will reduce significantly.

If you are suffering from unrelenting heartburn, you should consult a gastroenterology specialist for diagnosis and treatment.