Reflux and heartburn can occur during cancer treatment. Cancer medications and treatment may affect parts of the digestive system and cause the liquids and the food in your stomach to reflux into your esophagus. Reflux can have symptoms such as a sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, food digestion, sour taste in your mouth, and heartburn
Do you feel a painful burning sensation in your chest, esophagus, and stomach after consuming certain foods? Are you popping heartburn tablets more often? If so, that indicates that you have acid reflux, which happens when the stomach acid backs up into your esophagus.
In normal circumstances, the lower esophageal sphincter closes to prevent liquids and food in the stomach from backing up into your esophagus. But if your esophageal sphincter is weakened or damaged, the result is acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease; a chronic severe condition of acid reflux.
The acid amount your stomach produces is affected by the food you consume. No single diet can prevent the symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn. However, this condition can be controlled by consuming the right kinds of foods. Besides, specific foods cause these symptoms in certain people.
Here are the top tips that you can try to manage and hopefully stop reflux and heartburn
Eating quickly or not chewing your food correctly can make you swallow air with your food, and this doesn’t allow proper digestion hence causing reflux or heartburn. Ensure that you eat slowly and chew your food well.
Avoid reflux and heartburn trigger snacks.
Some foods can trigger reflux and heartburn in some people. Avoiding or reducing your intake of these foods can help you manage the symptoms. Reflux and heartburn triggers include.
Fatty foods such as full-fat dairy cream sauce, processed meat, deep-fried fatty foods and many more; spicy foods such as tomatoes, chili, and onions; carbohydrate drinks, soda water and soft drink
Remember that it is crucial to work out which snacks that might affect you since everyone is different. You can work out the triggers by keeping a snack and symptom diary where you keep notes of what you eat and when the symptoms occurred.
Avoid larger meals
Too much liquid and food in the stomach at one time can trigger your stomach acid to back up your esophagus. Instead of consuming too much food, you can reduce the amount of food and instead eat more frequently if required.
For instance, if you eat three times a day and experience reflux or heartburn after this, you can try to reduce the food quantity at each meal, and instead, you can include snacks in between. Suppose you are experiencing extreme reflux or heartburn after lunch, you can try to split your lunch into two, eating a half before and the other half later on.
The nicotine usually found in cigarettes can weaken your lower esophageal sphincter. This is a muscle that controls the opening between your esophagus and the stomach. When it is closed, it keeps acid and other foods in your stomach from going back to the esophagus.
Stay up after eating
When you are sitting or standing, gravity helps to keep acid in the stomach where it belongs. Ensure that you finish eating 3 hours before going to sleep. This means not sleeping after lunch and no late supper or midnight snacks.
Ideally, your head should be around 7 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by getting extra bed risers on the leg supporting the head of your bed. If you’re not comfortable, you can try to use a foam wedge support for your upper body. Ensure that you don’t try to create a wedge by striking pillows since they won’t offer the uniform support you require.
Healthy weight loss is essential.
Putting an extra weight around your stomach region can push on the stomach and cause the food or liquid in your stomach to back the esophagus. Healthy weight loss can help you reduce the symptoms; however, this cannot always be appropriate, for instance, if you are pregnant.
Having stress can trigger your reflux or heartburn symptoms. Ensure that you eat in a calm environment and participate in regular stress-reducing activities.
Avoid exercising after eating.
Your body requires time to digest the food before undertaking exercise. Ensure that you allow at least 60 minutes after a small meal and three hours after large food before exercising. Remember that body exercise is still very beneficial for managing heartburn and reflux.
Avoid fluids when eating.
Ensure that you wait half an hour either side of a meal before drinking any fluid and avoiding fluids with your meals.
Consume plenty of fresh fruits
Ensure that you consume plenty of fresh fruits; however, you should avoid acidity consumption causing citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges.
Consume meals at regular intervals
Make sure that you avoid long gaps between every meal. You can also include a fresh green salad in your diet. Ensure that you consume salad around 15 minutes before you eat. Ensure that you eat your meal two to three hours before sleeping.
Chewing gum that is sugar-free can also help to stop or reduce acid reflux and heartburn. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the gland in a month to produce more saliva. The excess saliva will dilute and eliminate acid that gets back into the esophagus. Researchers indicate that this process can reduce symptoms of chronic acid reflux patients.
Remedies such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and ginger root can be useful in eliminating acid reflux symptoms. Besides using natural remedies to eliminate reflux symptoms, eliminating individual lifestyle choices, and being mindful of what you eat can prevent reflux and heartburn symptoms.
Acid reflux and heartburn symptoms tend to show up late at night when sleeping. This happens because of gravity, which allows stomach acid to splashback to your esophagus. Placing bricks under the end of the mattress or elevating the head of the bed by using pillows can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux at night.