Summer is the worst season for frequent heartburn

Nearly half of individuals who experience frequent heartburn said the summer is when they experience the worst symptoms, according to a survey conducted by Perri-go Pharmaceuticals. One often suffers from acidity during the hot summer season. Acidity is mainly because of long gap between meals, having too much of spicy food and tea or coffee regularly.

It causes uncomfortable symptoms, pain, and even severe health problems.

So, to avoid chances of acidity during the hot days one should include these foods in their diet.

Bananas

The fruit contains potassium that produces mucous in the lining of the stomach, thus lowering the pH levels in the body. Bananas also contains rich amount of fibre and is a great source of roughage. So, eat the fruit during summer to keep acidity at bay.

Melons

Melons such as cantaloupe, musk melon and watermelon are high on anti-oxidants and fibre that helps to avoid acid reflux and other stomach ailments by maintaining the mucous membrane. The cooling properties and high water content in the fruits also help hydrate the body and reduce pH levels.

Coconut water

This natural drink contains a cleansing properties that helps to flush out toxins from your body. Coconut water is also rich in fibre content and helps with regular bowel movements.

Cold milk

Another excellent way to combat acidity is to drink cold milk. As milk absorbs acid formation in the stomach, it helps in stopping any reflux or burning sensation in the gastric system.

Buttermilk and curd

Besides milk, other milk products (except cheese) like curd and buttermilk also provide relief from acidity as these products cool the stomach and the natural bacteria in them do not allow acid formation. They also help in keeping the overall digestive system healthy.

Say no to food carts

Though these should be avoided all year round, they are definitely a strict no-no during summer season. Rise in temperature goes hand-in-hand with water scarcity, which in turn means compromise on washing properly in the kitchen. And that can have a bad effect on your system when you eat food that is not washed properly before cooking or cooked by hands that have been not thoroughly cleaned. Gastroenteritis, amoebic dysentery and diarrhoea are common during this time of the year.

Swap juice for whole fruit instead

In summer, you often spot house flies especially in markets near food vendors. They are major germ carriers and thus, people should be careful when having juice outside. Instead of cutting fruits or blending them into juice you should rather try to eat whole fruits to keep infections at bay.

Summer Fun, Food, and Heartburn?

Which foods trigger heartburn and acid reflux and how you can treat it

We all love a summer BBQ picnic or beach weekend getaway. Along with the fun, you’re probably enjoying some of your favorite foods and drinks as well. For those suffering from acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), eating or drinking these summertime favorites may make for uncomfortable days and sleepless nights.

In the US, 20% of adults exhibit symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn or GERD on a weekly basis. Characterized by symptoms that include belching, upper abdominal burning, burning in chest, bitter taste, nausea, and sometimes regurgitation, these conditions occur when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle fails to keep stomach acid from leaking back up into the esophagus. Additionally, an individual may also have a hiatal hernia. This is a condition where part of the stomach is actually going into the chest cavity. Often, the hernia is small and doesn’t necessarily need to be repaired. However, a large hiatal hernia contributes to the GERD condition and its symptoms and should be corrected surgically. Many people go undiagnosed and untreated for months or even years, silently suffering while losing their quality of life, whereas others opt for a never-ending regiment of over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications to keep heartburn at bay.

Lifestyle causes of heartburn, acid reflux or GERD

In addition to physiological reasons, lifestyle choices can increase or decrease your chances of getting heartburn. Food often triggers acid reflux flares, with some of the more common food triggers being spicy, acidic and greasy foods, carbonated beverages, tea, and chocolate. Now doesn’t that sound like the makings of a typical Texas picnic or gathering? You can picture the table now; a full spread including hot dogs, chicken wings, chips and salsa, jalapeno poppers, citrus salads, BBQ sauce, and hamburgers. We Texans like to go big or go home when it comes to summer gatherings, but you shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun to avoid heartburn!

What are new options?

It’s not all bad news! Most patients who have chronic heartburn or GERD find medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs like Nexium or Prilosec) control their symptoms reasonably well. Unfortunately, these medications only mask symptoms don’t actually stop reflux, and 30-40% percent of patients don’t get complete relief from their symptoms. For those patients who get incomplete relief with medications and lifestyle modifications, are intolerant to drugs, don’t want to be on lifetime medications, or have advanced disease, there are other options including minimally invasive surgery.

UT Health Austin is taking a different approach to treating patients with GERD at the Heartburn & Esophageal Disorders Center. Center Director Dr. Tripp Buckley says, “We are taking a multi-specialty, comprehensive approach to this disease. Our team approach creates a personalized treatment plan for each patient which often includes optimizing their medical therapy.” When medical therapy fails, there are other options including minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Buckley notes, “There are multiple new procedures for GERD that actually treat the disease at its source.” These include procedural options designed to restore the normal anatomy of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the esophagus and stomach).

A surgical procedure called LINX is an option available for patients who do not respond well to daily medications or those who have concerns about the implications of lifelong pill therapy. “The LINX procedure is one of the most popular surgical options,” says Dr. Buckley. “The LINX is basically an artificial valve that stops reflux. It has been extensively studied and is very reliable, safe and effective,” says Dr. Buckley who has been involved in many of the research initiatives and one of the most experienced LINX surgeons in the world. In fact, Dr. Buckley is involved with multiple research projects at the Center. “Being on the cutting edge of research and innovation is integral to advancing the care of the GERD patient. We are also participating in an FDA trial for a new GERD therapy known as EndoStim that is like a pacemaker for the valve. It has shown great promise in trials conducted outside of the United States.”

When is time to see a specialist?

If you experience GERD symptoms more than twice a week or continue to have symptoms and/or develop new or worsening symptoms while on medication, then it may be time to see your doctor or a specialist. In the meantime, manage your symptoms, avoid or limit certain foods and beverages and take your medications. Be your best advocate and take charge of your health to make the most of your summer and your life!

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