Once I became a Health and Wellness Advocate, this was the last area I addressed in my own health… out of fear. I listened, I learned, I visited a naturopath, and I slowly changed my own health habits before taking the plunge and stopping the pills. It was actually smooth sailing! :-) I am now 2.5 years free…. and am doing really well most of the time :-). IF I have back flow issues… it's usually my fault :-}. But I also know how to quickly address it and improve right away.
So I'd love to pass on to any and all interested, just what helped/helps me the most? Just please know that I am NOT any kind of doctor, just someone who has been greatly helped by natural solutions :-). And this is about COMMON backwash challenges that are NOT under a doctor's care, okay?
The following are in random order….and just from my own experiences...
1. NO food or excess liquids after 7pm. It puts too much physical pressure on the valve. NO ALCOHOL after 7pm… it relaxes the valve too much.
2. Try to make your supper a lighter meal, and not a heavy rib-sticking one. Or at least, add in a leafy salad as you eat. If you have troubles digesting certain foods in general, a gentle food enzyme product may help as needed. Adding a good probiotic supplement (or yogurt) to your diet may also help.
3. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Excess fat, especially a pot belly, just makes less room inside for digestion to happen normally.
4. Try to drink lots of water throughout the day. I like to use a glass water bottle (from any department store) and add in just one drop of a high quality Lemon essential oil to at least one bottle's worth. Shake well before drinking. If that one drop hurts at all… don't use it. Try adding in a little lemon juice, for flavoring if you wish, instead.
5. If you have a hiatal hernia and it feels out of place, try "heel drops" after eating a moderate meal? You simply stand up on your toes, and drop to your heels abruptly, several times. For any further physical manipulations, PLEASE see a knowledgable naturopath. And of course… regular exercise will help most :-). Surgery may be needed for more severe problems.
6. You probably already know which foods to avoid, and which should help you? If not… please google and keep a food journal :-).
7. If and when I feel reflux or esophageal irritation, I put one drop of a high quality Frankincense essential oil on my tongue and swallow. Others are helped best by Peppermint essential oil or a Digestive Blend of essential oils. Use what helps YOU the most. I am constantly amazed by how that one little drop helps :-).
8. For more serious irritations… especially when ending a proton pump inhibitor, make a roller bottle [ahead of time] to roll from your chin to your belly button 2-3 times per day. For non-overly-sensitive adults, try 10 drops of Lemongrass essential oil, 20 drops of Frankincense, and fill the roller bottle to 5ml with Fractionated Coconut Oil. This will make it close to a 30% dilution rate. If you apply and it burns at all… please immediately dilute with any oil or lotion… never water.
9. If night time back flow is a typical problem, place a wedge shaped pillow under the top of your mattress OR raise the head of your bed at least 2 inches. When in a hotel, I simply stuff one extra pillow under the top of the mattress.
10. Slippery Elm… I find it a hard herb to mix without "dust" going everywhere, and a little gag inducing texture-wise, but when you need to coat and calm things down in your throat and esophagus … this actually works. :-) You can find the raw product at some natural health stores.
11. Is sugar one of your issues?? It is for me :-(. To find out… try going sugar free (NO high sugar foods, no sweeteners added to your coffee, etc) for at least 2 weeks. Feel any better? Then try a meal with added sugar. I have learned I just don't digest it well at all.
12. SODA!! All carbonated drinks are hard on the ole esophagus and tummy. As hard as it may be (I know how addictive that can be!), try weaning yourself off of all carbonated drinks for at least 2 weeks, and see how you feel. Anytime I now drink just ONE soda… I can feel the burn. Everyone is different… but this is just one more common problem to those with digestive challenges.
Hope any of the above helps just one more person :-).