Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus from the stomach, causing irritation. Acid reflux may be a temporary or long-term issue. More serious forms are called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Burning in the chest that usually occurs after eating
- Chest pain
- Feeling like there is a lump in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food and/or sour liquid
- May cause disrupted sleep
- Coughing, abdominal pain, or nausea and vomiting
Talk to your doctor if you have severe or frequent symptoms, especially in the case of chest pains, as this may be a sign or symptom of a heart attack.
Prevention and Nutrition
Lifestyle changes may help alleviate symptoms. These changes include losing weight, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, elevating your head while sleeping, avoiding eating right before bed and quitting smoking.
Certain foods may worsen symptoms, including:
- Mint and peppermint
- Fatty and fried foods
- Caffeine, such as coffee and tea
- Spicy foods
- Grapefruit and oranges
- Tomatoes and tomato sauce
Eating smaller, more frequent meals and a plant-based diet with less processed foods and red meats also may help. A food journal in which you write down everything you eat may be helpful in identifying foods that may trigger symptoms.
Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for more insight if your problem continues.
Bridgette Bostic, R.D.N., is the community nutrition educator in the Tevis Center for Wellness.