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How To Overcome Acid Reflux, IBS And Other GI Problems

Mar 24, 2008
There can be many symptoms associated with acid reflux including heartburn, nausea and a sore throat, but did you know that there is also an acid reflux IBS connection? This may sound surprising considering acid reflux is a condition that affects the esophagus, while irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that tends to be related to the intestines. However, many people who suffer from IBS often complain of symptoms that occur in their upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract including stomach pain, nausea, and acid reflux/heartburn.

It is thought that the upper GI symptoms an IBS sufferer experiences is related to the rate that the stomach empties its acid and food contents. If the stomach environment is 'unbalanced', it can effectively try to expel partially digested contents from both of its openings - the small intestine and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This can lead to acid reflux IBS symptoms occurring simultaneously.

In some cases, the imbalance in the gastric environment related to acid reflux and GI problems is the result of not enough stomach acid for proper food digestion. When the stomach is deficient in acid, food cannot be broken down and easily digested. This can not only lead to heartburn because food isn't being moved into the small intestine fast enough, but it can allow bad bacteria that are usually kept in check by stomach acid to flourish. This may lead to fungal overgrowths and nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to chronic conditions such as IBS. Furthermore, it is now widely believed that bacterial infections within the GI tract may cause ulcers.

For this reason, many acid reflux and IBS sufferers may in fact be making both conditions worse if they take antacids to treat their heartburn if their stomach does not produce enough acid. Antacids are designed to neutralize stomach acid, and frequent use may put an individual at a greater risk of bacterial infection. However, keep in mind that if your doctor has prescribed you medication for your heartburn or acid reflux/GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) symptoms, you should not stop taking prescription antacid medication without first notifying your doctor.

Many GI issues including acid reflux can be by controlled through your diet and lifestyle choices. Here are some tips to help you bring your symptoms under control:

- Friendly foods and beverages. Knowing what foods you should eat and avoid is very important for controlling acid reflux, IBS or other GI symptoms. The first step is to know what foods trigger your acid reflux (I.E. fatty foods, spicy food, tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, caffeine, and alcohol) and avoid them. The next step is to find out what foods cause your IBS symptoms (I.E. bloating, stomach pain and cramping, gas, constipation, diarrhea, etc.).

Keeping a food diary to find out what specific foods cause your symptoms is a great way to stay on top of your food choices. By removing potential trigger foods from your diet and reintroducing them one food at a time to your diet can help you identify those items which cause symptoms to flare.

Foods that many IBS sufferers report make their symptoms worse include: foods high in fat, caffeine, and milk and milk products. In fact, a large number of IBS sufferers are actually lactose intolerant.

Essentially, when it comes to creating a diet for acid reflux, IBS, or other GI issues you will want to ensure you are drinking plenty of water, and are providing your body with as much healthy food variety as possible.

- Change eating habits. Eat smaller portions and more frequent meals, and avoid lying down directly after eating. You should also wear comfortable clothing, and sit down and relax while you eat your meals slowly. This will allow your body the time it needs to properly digest the food you've eaten.

- Reduce stress. Stress can wreak havoc on the GI tract and make symptoms worse. Learn how to relax and deal with your stress through exercise, meditation, or enjoying activities that make you happy such as reading, going shopping, and so on.
About the Author
Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker's brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you discover more about the acid reflux IBS link.
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