I Can't Do Anything to Help My Heartburn?

Of course you can! When stomach acid regurgitates upward into the upper part of the esophagus, it causes heartburn and indigestion. This becomes a real problem when it's chronic. However, few patients with this abnormal acid reflux go to see a doctor, even when it's happening everyday. Even fewer consult with a digestive disease specialist.

This is too bad, because as I have mentional earlier, a 1999 study on acid reflux sufferers and their life quality revealed that untreated people with GERD reported significantly lower scores in measures of emotional and physical well-being. Even people with diabetes or high blood pressure scored higher.

But when treatment did occur and patients responded, the researchers found that the self-reported scores of the GERD patients on emotional and physical well-being increased dramatically.

Of course, treatment involves more than just taking one or two pills a day, as Clarisse, described earlier in this blog, learned. Changes in lifestyle can also have a positive impact on acid reflux disease. Some important dietary changes include avoidance of heavy meals, chocolate, onions, peppers, and other irritating foods. Sit down to dinner at least two hours before bedtime and also forgo bedtime snacks.

Sometimes chewing gum helps a person with GERD. Gum chewing causes you to salivate more, which in turn hastens the clearance of acid from your esophagus. It also dilutes and neutralizes acid.