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Prevent acid reflux – nipping it in the bud!

You probably know the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, it can’t be more relevant than when talking about acid reflux. Reflux symptoms are not only painful, but if left untreated they can lead to very serious complications. Complications that can be difficult, if not impossible, to cure. That is why it is very important to prevent acid reflux BEFORE it gets out of control. In this case, “An ounce of prevention is worth a TON of cure!”

“But I’m preventing it! I’m taking Prilosec every morning and that’s supposed to keep my stomach from making acid, right? Isn’t THAT prevention?”

I guess you could call it that. A more accurate description would be something like “pharmaceutical maintenance”. You are using a medicine made to suppress normal body function (make acid). The problem is not with the acid producers. It’s whatever it is you’re making your acid producers work overtime with. If you had a disease that, by itself, caused your stomach to produce excess acid, then I would say that you probably need to take some medication to keep acid production under control. But, in most cases of reflux, the acid producers are simply doing what they are supposed to do. It is the external causes that are the problem.

Think of it this way: If your remote isn’t working, would you smash your TV with a hammer to turn it off? Of course, no! You certainly achieved your goal, didn’t you? But he did it by breaking something that was working perfectly fine, rather than fixing what was broken. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

So the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies.

To prevent acid reflux, you must identify and ‘fix’ the areas that IS IT SO ‘broke’:

  • DIET – what is put into the stomach is important. Avoid spicy and acidic foods as they add acid to the stomach. Minimize your intake of caffeinated and citrus beverages for the same reason.
  • LIFESTYLE – if you smoke, try to quit if you can. If you are overweight, try to lose it. Even something as simple as bending over or lying down after a meal can trigger a reflux attack.
  • MEDICINES – Be careful with medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen, as they can produce acid. Any muscle relaxant can affect the stomach muscles, allowing reflux to occur. Steroids can also cause acid reflux.

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