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Soothing Indigestion Naturally

In Dallas and Ft. Worth, heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion can really interfere with your life. In addition to your GERD treatment plan, find ways to cope with the problem naturally.

Soothing Indigestion Naturally

Throughout the United States heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion are a growing problem. Each year Americans spend millions of dollars in an attempt to soothe the burning in their esophagus, but even with medication the lingering pain often comes back. In Dallas and Ft. Worth, heartburn and acid reflux are big concerns for a large portion of the population. And for many people, relief seems like something that will never come.

Chronic heartburn and acid reflux are generally a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition that develops thanks to a damaged lower esophageal sphincter or LES. The LES is the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus, and when it is damaged it can’t stop stomach acid from irritating the lining of the esophagus—resulting in severe heartburn, indigestion and regurgitation.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD can only be cured by anti-reflux surgery to repair the LES. However, while you are awaiting GERD surgery there are a number of natural solutions that can help you find a bit of relief from your chronic reflux.

Here are a few natural solutions that may help alleviate some of your heartburn:

  • Calcium supplements: Calcium can help prevent or reduce heartburn because it strengthens the LES valve. This is why so many people try to drink milk when they are experiencing reflux, though at that point it may not help. The calcium is not an antacid so can’t be used as a fast-acting solution. Talk to your GERD surgeon about calcium supplements that are okay for your diet.
  • Vegetables juices: Carrot juice, cabbage juice and aloe vera juice are all regarded as great nutrient sources for heartburn and acid reflux relief. These juices can sooth the esophagus and reduce the pain associated with heartburn. Aloe vera can also enhance digestive efforts which may help alleviate heartburn.
  • Mastic gum: This natural supplement is found in a Mediterranean plant called the Pistacia lentiscus, and has been turned to for years for relief from indigestion. Talk to your GERD surgeon about taking this supplement in capsule form. It is available at many health food stores throughout Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Other natural ways that you can reduce or alleviate heartburn include eating smaller meals; reduce alcohol and soda consumption and avoiding spicy foods. But before making any changes to your diet make sure to talk to your GERD surgeon about your plans.

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Sing Your GERD Out

Tips for Singing with GERD in Ft. Worth or DallasFrom a frog in your throat to full-blown acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion, anything that affects your respiratory system can spell big trouble if you’re a singer. Though suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in Ft. Worth or Dallas is no fun for anyone, it can be especially problematic for those who rely on their voices.

Because the recurrent acid reflux of GERD can cause damage to the vocal cords, it frequently results in an erratic singing voice. For professional singers and hobbyists alike, GERD can cause a number of frustrating and performance-impeding symptoms like:

  • Post-nasal drip
  • Chronic cough
  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Reduced or unreliable vocal range
  • Need to clear throat frequently
  • Need for longer warm-ups
  • Inconsistent vocal quality in the morning

Over time, GERD can lead to long-term damage to your vocal abilities, which is why it’s especially important for singers to seek GERD treatment before the condition persists for too long. Singers may be understandably leery of undergoing surgery to correct this delicate issue, but your GERD surgeon can help you find a safe, minimally invasive means of permanently correcting your symptoms.

Still, some other tips may be of value to singers who find themselves grappling with the daily symptoms of GERD. To avoid acid reflux during a performance, give these strategies a try:

  • Don’t eat before you sing. Acid reflux results from a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which serves as a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. Singing contracts the stomach muscles and puts extra pressure on the LES, increasing the risk of reflux. The more there is in your stomach, the more chance there is that those contents will reflux due to stress on the LES, so be sure you’ve had some time to digest properly before singing.
  • Know your triggers. Most of us have specific foods that prompt symptoms more than others, and avoiding your own can help you control GERD. Try starting a food journal to determine the things most likely to cause a flare-up. Common triggers include chocolate, alcohol, coffee, citrus, tomatoes, carbonated drinks, fatty foods and spicy foods, so be especially careful to avoid these when preparing for a performance. GERD can also be caused by problems like hiatal hernia and obesity, so be sure to see a GERD surgeon if you can’t seem to find any specific dietary triggers.

Though GERD in Ft. Worth or Dallas can be especially disconcerting for singers, there are many ways to treat and prevent acid reflux symptoms before they do permanent damage to your voice. Are you a singer who suffers from GERD? Share any other tips you’ve found useful in the comments below!

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Run without Acid Reflux

Run without Symptoms of GERD in Ft. Worth and DallasRunning is one of the world’s most popular and effective workouts, but the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in Ft. Worth and Dallas can make it tough to pound the pavement. If you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion, your discomfort may have made you write off high-impact activities like running for good.

Yet exercise can be a valuable tool in fighting GERD—regular workouts can help us reduce the stress and excess weight that so frequently lead to acid reflux and other symptoms. Well, runner’s rejoice—as long as you’re careful, running can still be a good way to get a workout without sparking your symptoms.

Remember: before you introduce any strenuous activities to your exercise routine, you should always check with your GERD surgeon. Many people who suffer from GERD can run without having problems, but it may not be as well suited for others. Though you should ask Dr. Ihde for advice if you have any doubts, these tips can help many GERD sufferers run without worry:

  • Watch what (and how) you eat. If you have GERD, you’re probably more than used to keeping a close eye on your diet, but doing so will be especially important before a run. When reflux flares up while running, think back to what and how you ate that day. The cause of your symptoms may not be running itself, but rather the espresso you drank for an energy boost or the lunch you scarfed down to have enough time for a workout. Remember: it’s a smart choice to wait at least two hours after eating to go for a run, but many people also like to eat a banana or something else soothing to the stomach before heading out.
  • Go over-the-counter. Home remedies and over-the-counter indigestion medicines are not a permanent solution for GERD, but can provide you with much-needed short-term relief. Try antacids that include calcium like Tums, or mix a half-teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water. If you use one of these remedies before a run, it can neutralize stomach acid to keep symptoms away during your workout.

If these tips don’t help you run reflux-free, don’t hesitate to talk to your GERD surgeon about others ways to treat your symptoms. Reflux surgery can make it possible to put GERD behind you for good.

Are you a runner who suffers from GERD in Ft. Worth or Dallas? Share any other tips that have helped you in comments below!

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Muscle Relaxation for Acid Reflux Relief

Relax your muscles to relieve acid reflux and indigestion in Ft. WorthThough dietary triggers may be the most apparent causes of acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion in Ft. Worth and Dallas, they are not the only things that cause the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When you feel stressed out or anxious, it can slow down your digestive system and lead to stress-related overeating, both of which can spark serious symptoms in GERD sufferers.

Because stress is a consistent and unavoidable part of our daily lives, stress management techniques are important for everyone, but become especially crucial when you regularly experience acid reflux. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to naturally and effectively reduce stress with nothing more than your own body. Progressive muscle relaxation is a simple skill, but can do wonders when it comes to keeping stress under control.

Anyone can master progressive muscle relaxation, so give it a shot the next time you’re feeling stressed out. Begin by finding a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. You’ll need about 15 minutes to go through the entire process, which works by tensing and relaxing each of your body’s muscles in succession. The idea is to flex each muscle for about 20 seconds, then release it for about 30, focusing on the soothing sensation of that tension leaving your body.

Walk through your muscles in this order:

  • Forehead. Wrinkle it by raising your eyebrows.
  • Eyes. Keep them clenched shut tightly.
  • Nose. Wrinkle it by flaring your nostrils.
  • Tongue. Keep it pressed firmly against the roof of your mouth.
  • Jaw. Grit your teeth.
  • Neck. Bring your chin down towards your chest and hold it there.
  • Back. Arch it and hold.
  • Chest. Hold in a deep breath.
  • Stomach. Flex your abdominal muscles.
  • Arms. Flex your biceps.
  • Hands. Ball them tightly into fists.
  • Thighs and butt. Flex them both and hold.
  • Calves. Push down on the ground with your feet.
  • Feet. Turn your toes up.

Be sure not to rush through these steps—it’s important to take your time if you hope to get the most out of progressive muscle relaxation. As you move through each muscle, pay close attention to how it feels to flex and release. Each time you release, imagine your anxieties fading away with the tension that leaves your muscles.

To really experience the benefits of this technique, you should aim to do it at least two times each day, but you can do it as often as you like. Complementing progressive muscle relaxation with other stress reduction techniques like deep breathing can also be very helpful.

Remember: stress may be a fact of life, but acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion in Ft. Worth or Dallas do not have to be. Do you know of any other stress management techniques that help with GERD? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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Stay Positive to Beat Heartburn

Reflux surgery and positivity can help you overcome GERDLiving with acid reflux can be frustrating. When the discomfort of heartburn and indigestion comes back day after day, it can make it hard to continue participating in activities with your friends and family. Like other people who suffer chronic pain, you soon find that most people don’t understand the pain you are in or the effect it has on your life. This makes gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) capable of causing depression in addition to its painful symptoms.

If you’ve experienced GERD firsthand, you may already know the influence that the condition can have on your mood. Those who suffer from chronic pain are three times more likely to develop depression or another psychiatric issue, while those who struggle with depression are three times more likely to experience some kind of chronic pain. Though reflux surgery can help you end this cycle, living with GERD and depression can make the problems of each one worse.

Maintaining a good attitude can be a huge help as you get ready for reflux surgery or work to manage symptoms on your own. Though a bad mood can make acid reflux hard to handle, a good mood can have the opposite effect. To keep your head up as you deal with acid reflux in Dallas, start by:

  • Relaxing. Both depression and GERD can feel especially overwhelming if you’re constantly too busy to take a moment’s rest. Though acid reflux symptoms can slow us down and make us feel rushed to catch up, taking time to relax is crucial to your health. Make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night and dedicate some time each day to relaxation practices like yoga, progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing.
  • Doing the things you love. The pain of GERD can make even the things you enjoy seem hard to handle, but engaging your interests is a surefire way to lift your spirits. Even if you aren’t in the mood, pushing yourself to do some of your favorite activities can help to push you out of a funk. Take an afternoon to visit your favorite museum or park. Spend an hour after work painting, writing or playing music or sports. The things we love can be a hugely upbeat influence.
  • Staying social. When we’re depressed or in pain, we may want nothing more than to curl up and feel sorry for ourselves. Unfortunately, this won’t do you any good. You may want to avoid social situations like the plague, but retreating from your friends and family will likely only worsen your mood. Just spending time with others can help you deal with depression, while you can also take the opportunity to vent about what you’re going through. The support of others can be very valuable, especially those who are unfailingly optimistic.

It’s true: acid reflux can be depressing. But you don’t have to let the symptoms of GERD worsen your mood, or vice versa. Talk to your GERD surgeon about the help of reflux surgery and do your best to stay positive even in times of pain.

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Manage Acid Reflux Gingerly

How ginger root may help you deal with the symptoms of GERD

Ask your GERD surgeon about using ginger to treat acid reflux

Though reflux surgery is the most surefire path to relieving the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), many things can help you manage heartburn symptoms on your own. When it comes to preventing acid reflux, you may hear most about things not to eat, but some foods can actually help you prevent the discomfort of indigestion and heartburn.

Ginger has been used to treat stomach concerns since ancient India and China, and some healthcare professionals continue recommend its use to this day. This is because ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties and compounds that ease digestion and nausea. Because ginger can interact with other supplements and medications you may be taking, you should ask your GERD surgeon before introducing it to your diet, but doing so may help you deal with acid reflux symptoms.

Ginger can be used in a variety of ways and can be a valuable thing to have in your kitchen even if reflux surgery has relieved you of GERD-related discomfort. Here are some ways to start taking advantage of the many benefits of this incredible root:

  • Cooking with ginger. You can find ginger in many forms, from whole root to pickled slices and powders. Ground ginger can add flavor to sauces, while peeled and sliced ginger root can make an excellent addition to stir fries, soups and stews. Minced ginger will add a little kick to any rice or couscous dish, while you can even grate ginger over sauces or proteins to infuse them with some flavor.
  • Drinking ginger tea. Because herbal teas made with ginger contain no caffeine, they can make a great substitute for hot morning beverages like coffee that are well known to worsen GERD symptoms. You can find varieties of ginger tea at most grocery stores—just double check that the tea you choose is caffeine-free. Ginger tea also has a relaxing effect that can help you reduce the stress and anxiety that so often contribute to acid reflux.
  • Taking ginger supplements. Like many common herbs, ginger is available in supplement form. Though ginger supplements can make it easy to add this digestive aid to your daily routine, remember to always check with your GERD surgeon to be sure these will be a good choice for you.

Ginger is a useful root, but a delicious one as well. By introducing more ginger to your diet, you can add some flavor to your meals along with reflux relief. But remember: ginger is no substitute for reflux surgery or the advice of your GERD surgeon.

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Holiday Heartburn

Is all you want for Christmas to be heartburn free? It might be time to talk to your GERD surgeon about reflux surgery.

Holiday Heartburn

The holidays are historically a time of overindulgence. Between weekly holiday potlucks, dessert tables loaded with seasonal delights and fattening food staples we only bring out this time of year (eggnog, hot chocolate, etc.), it is no surprise why for many people the nightmare before Christmas is really heartburn.

Reflux surgery can help you enjoy your favorite holiday treats again, but you will need to refrain from overdoing it even after getting treatment for acid reflux from your GERD surgeon. There are heartburn triggers lurking on every holiday table, and if you aren’t taking the time to decipher what is healthy and what is a recipe for disaster, you could find yourself saying “bah humbug” instead of “ho ho ho”.

Here are a few tips to help you reduce heartburn this holiday season:

  • Hold off on the alcohol. A potluck buffet can put enough stress on your digestive system. Don’t add to the problem by relaxing your lower esophageal sphincter with alcohol. When you drink alcohol the LES will not act as promptly as it should, and the result could be a night of reflux for you.
  • Avoid chocolate. Much like alcohol, chocolate can relax the LES and cause you to experience worsened heartburn. It can be hard to avoid chocolate altogether this time of year, but do your best to limit your indulgence.
  • Focus on stress management. The holidays often become excessively stressful—especially when you get caught up in the gift-buying mayhem. Stress negatively impacts digestive health and can worsen your heartburn and reflux if you aren’t careful. Do your best to keep calm, take deep breaths and remember the true spirit of the holidays.

If your heartburn is bothering you more than three times a week, you are likely struggling with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This develops when the lower esophageal sphincter or LES becomes damaged and doesn’t close properly, allowing stomach acid to backwash into the esophagus.

When this happens, reflux surgery is the only way to successfully overcome the frequent nuisance of acid reflux and heartburn. The above strategies can’t cure GERD, but they can lessen the intensity of acid reflux and even reduce the frequency of heartburn by limiting the amount of stress put on the LES.

Aside from these helpful tips, getting acid reflux treatment from your GERD surgeon can help you to enjoy your holidays heartburn-free this year.

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Eat Slowly for Heartburn Relief

Along with reflux surgery, taking time to eat slowly can help you control acid reflux symptoms

Reflux surgery and slower eating can help you resolve heartburn

Though acid reflux can come from what we eat, it can also come from how fast we eat. We live in a world where everyone seems to be on the go, especially here in Dallas, but the speed of microwave-ready meals and drive-thru menus can play as big a role in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as the unhealthy ingredients they contain.

Did you know that the digestion process begins as soon as we start to chew our food? Saliva coats each bite in digestive enzymes that start to break things down before they reach your stomach, taking some of the burden off of your stomach. When fast-paced eating allows food to make it to the stomach without time to be properly chewed and broken down, indigestion and heartburn may be the result.

Slowing down to enjoy each meal can help you prevent heartburn, but it can also take some of the stress out of eating in a rush. Whether you’re considering a visit to a GERD surgeon or have already had reflux surgery, taking time for each meal can help you improve your digestive health and relax more at mealtime. Take at least 20 minutes to sit and enjoy each meal and use the time to slow down and re-energize yourself for the rest of the day’s challenges.

Reflux surgery can help you beat GERD, but so can taking time to eat slower by:

  • Getting rid of distractions. If you eat in front of the TV or computer or scarf down meals as you drive, your diverted attention may lead to unintentionally fast face stuffing. Take your mind off technology and responsibilities for a few minutes and focus your attention on food in front of you. Instead of zoning out, take time to notice the flavor, texture and smell of each bite.
  • Cutting down on portions. Try filling your plate with a smaller portion and eating it at a gradual pace, then going back for seconds if needed. Because it takes time for our bellies to tell our brains they’re full, taking your meal in waves of lighter portions can help you avoid overeating.
  • Being the tortoise instead of the hare. Slow and steady will always win the race to beat heartburn, so try to be the last to finish your meal when eating in a group. If you notice others eating at a slower pace, take a moment to put down the fork and enjoy the conversation.

Eating slow can help you avoid the painful symptoms of GERD, but it can also help you enjoy every bite more. Whether you hope to soothe your heartburn or have already sought your GERD surgeon’s help with reflux surgery, slower eating can be a boon for your digestive health and your relationship with food.

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Acid Reflux after a Workout

Acid Reflux after a WorkoutIf you struggle with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), then you might feel like heartburn and acid reflux develop no-matter what you do. If you are sedentary, then you are more likely to pack on weight—something that worsens heartburn. But if you get up and go without taking any precautions then your exercise attempts can backfire and cause more acid reflux.

If you are struggling with GERD, then it may be time to talk to your GERD surgeon about your choices for reflux surgery. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is caused by a damaged lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This is the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When this valve malfunctions, digestive fluids like stomach acid are permitted to travel back into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining and causing heartburn and acid reflux.

If your LES is damaged, the only way to repair it is with reflux surgery. Taking several steps while preparing for your workout can reduce the intensity of exercise induced heartburn and acid reflux.

Here are a few tips to reduce acid reflux after your workout:

  • Wait two hours: Remember the old summertime rule when you were a kid: No pool for two hours after eating. We knew swimming after eating would give us a cramp. Use the same rule in your workout plans, as exercising right after a meal can induce heartburn. Try working out before your meal instead of after.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water can help with digestion and reduce your chances of experiencing heartburn.
  • Don’t make any assumptions: If you find that you are only experiencing heartburn during or after a hard workout, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Chest pain is often mistaken for heartburn. Your GERD surgeon can confirm that the discomfort you are experiencing is indeed heartburn.
  • Keep it up: Exercise helps with weight loss, which can in turn reduce your heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. While it might cause symptoms now, exercising daily might gradually help reduce your symptoms. Plus, exercise has many other health benefits that outweigh the risk of post-workout heartburn.

As you are working out you might find that some exercises impact your heartburn worse than others. For example, an activity with a lot of jumping like Zumba might cause acid reflux while something like swimming or jogging does not. Be especially careful with activities that would encourage you to position your head below your heart—like yoga.

Find an activity that reduces your problem with heartburn and keep it up! Do you know of other ways to prevent heartburn and acid reflux from interfering with your workout? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below!

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The Sandman Returns

Sleep Better after Reflux SurgeryAfter reflux surgery, you might experience such an improvement in your sleep that you’ll start thinking of your GERD surgeon as the sandman!

Is heartburn keeping you up all night? If so, you aren’t alone. Estimates show as many as one quarter of American adults experience acid reflux at night. For those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the percentage is even higher.

The pain associated with heartburn makes it difficult to sleep, and acid reflux at night can force you out of bed to cope with regurgitation. This type of nighttime nuisance can leave you drowsy the next day, causing concentration difficulties, irritability and a weakened immune system.

Nighttime heartburn can interfere with your health, personal and professional life, but reflux surgery can put an end to such sleep disturbances by correcting the problem with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that causes chronic heartburn.

While you are waiting for reflux surgery, your GERD surgeon might recommend several changes you can make to your sleeping and eating habits that might help alleviate nighttime heartburn:

  • The three hour rule: Don’t eat three hours before going to bed. They best way to enforce this rule is to create a bed time, and make sure that you are eating dinner at least three hours prior to lying down. This will give your stomach a chance to start digesting food before you lay down, and reduce the amount of food and stomach acids that are present to backwash into the esophagus as you recline.
  • Sleep on a slant: Try raising the head of your bed by about five inches. If you can’t physically incline your bed and mattress, try sleeping with an extra pillow or using a foam sleeping device made for the purpose of reducing heartburn. When your head is above your feet your stomach will naturally push the digestive juices down, preventing them from flowing into your esophagus.
  • Sleep on your left side: When you sleep on your left you are putting less pressure on your organs, including your stomach. This can alleviate compression on the LES, helping it to function more efficiently and keep digestive juices out of your esophagus.

Other healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, avoiding trigger foods and losing weight can also help alleviate nighttime heartburn.

If you are struggling with nighttime heartburn, it is especially important that you talk with your GERD surgeon about treatment options for you. If you go too long letting heartburn interfere with your sleep, health problems will start to pile up. You might even find yourself eating more to stay awake, which will ultimately lead to weight gain and more heartburn. Stop the cycle by using these useful tips and talking with your GERD surgeon for more precise medical advice.

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