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Longstanding acid reflux burns the cells in your esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer.

Here are 10 ways to avoid acid reflux:

1. Stop eating 3 hours before bed time. Late night snacks allow production of acid in your stomach to digest your foods. The more food you eat, the more acid gets produced. The more acid gets spilled into the esophagus from the stomach when you lay flat.

2. Avoid alcohol before bed. Wine before bed may seem like a good thing on a romantic night but the additional acid in wine plus alcohol itself is damaging. Alcohol in general disrupts the restful sleep stages such as REM and Stage 4 sleep (deep sleep).

3. If you have a sweet tooth at bedtime, choose bananas rather than candy or chocolate. Chocolates tend to be caustic to the stomach and contain caffeine.

4. Stop using tums. Tums contain calcium carbonate which neutralizes the acid in your stomach. This sounds great, but often you tend to get something called rebound gastritis. This is when more stomach acid is produced to overcome calcium carbonate, which may worsen your reflux.

5. Reduce the following triggers that worsen your acid reflux:
Chocolate, spicy foods, citrus, tomatoes, mint, fatty foods, chili, garlic, and alcohol.

6. Stop smoking. Yep.

7. Lose Weight. Fat loss helps with acid reflux because there are decreased fatty tissue that alleviates the pressure off of your abdomen. This is important for the stomach acid to stay in the stomach and not reflux back into the esophagus.

8. Elevate the head of your bed with a wedge pillow. This also physiologically keeps the acid in your stomach.

9. Avoid drinking milk at bedtime. There are many cultures that believe drinking milk “calms” or “coats” the stomach to relieve acid reflux. However the opposite is true. Milk causes more acid production and actually worsens acid reflux.

10. Take medicine. There are medicines to suppress acid reflux but using the 9 previous methods are sure to work in your favor as well.

Always talk to your doctor about acid reflux. Many things can cause it, including a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylorii. I was diagnosed with this many years ago and was treated with acid suppressors and antibiotics. The only way to know if you have this is to seek medical attention.

Hope this helps!

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