JOPLIN, MO-- "Acid reflux is when the stomach contents rise up into the esophagus causing discomfort. And this is caused by a loss of tone in the lower esophageal sphincter." Freeman Nurse Practitioner Valerie Dayton says that while the short term pain is a primary concern, patients should also be aware of the long term risks. "It can cause scarring in your esophagus which can sometimes leads to cancer."
Dayton says making changes now can help keep acid reflux at bay. "Maintaining a healthy weight, not eating large meals. You could also... um.. avoid laying flat for 3 hours after eating."
She adds it's important to avoid greasy and spicy foods... and that smoking is another strong risk factor. "Smoking is one of the proven reasons of causing lower esophageal sphincter tone and increases your risk for acid reflux."
Dayton says patients should also avoid exercising immediately after eating. "Any time you're contracting your muscles or moving around it's not going to give your body a chance to digest."