Acid Reflux

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
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • 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.

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