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Acid reflux is no fun

by Tina Y. Gerber - McCurley

Gastroesophageal reflux, also called GERD. This is a common condition, where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation of its lining. So troubles are caused by the lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle which controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness, often creating a bad taste in your mouth.

It is reported, about five million Canadians experience GERD symptom's weekly. This can affect the quality of ones life and cause damage to the esophagus.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn, like me, or any other symptoms of acid reflux you might try the following:

Enjoy eating small meals more frequently rather than a large meal.

Eat and drink slowly and don't gulp your drinks.

It is suggested not to use a straw, as this facilitates gulping. I have always used a straw. When you gulp your drinks, you may swallow more air, consequently, creating problems.

It is highly recommended to also stop smoking, as nicotine relaxes the muscles and the opening of the stomach.

In addition, avoid wearing tight clothing across your stomach or chest.

Experts suggest avoiding gum, carbonated drinks, my downfall.

Spicy foods, fatty foods, tomatoes, garlic, onions, these are all of my favourite things, yet they can contribute to this condition.

Another trigger is alcohol, as are tea, coffee and chocolate. What's a girl to do, no tea or chocolate. Back to square one.

I was sick for five months last year before we discovered I had developed acid reflux. It was the worst pain I had experienced and did not want a repeat performance, so I am now taking medications for this condition. I have tried eliminating certain things to see if doing so controls my reflux, I am slowly adding them back one by one. This state has also pushed up my diabetic readings over the last month.

When you're standing, gravity helps keep acid in the stomach, where it belongs. I am sure not to nap or sleep after eating and wait at least 2 hours to lay down or sleep. This includes no midnight snacking. If you were to attempt this, your head should be at least six to eight inches higher than your feet. So, for me, my husband has put risers on our bed.

I encourage you, if you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor and check your medications.

This got me thinking, what is the spiritual significance of acid reflux? What is God trying to tell me, if he is at all? I suppose, He is reminding me to take appropriate action, to take a mindful approach of what my body is experiencing and telling me, with regards to my healing.

Apparently, I am not a good listener, lately, and have lost that connection. Of course, stress plays a big factor. I am taking more time through rest, to practice relaxation and am becoming more prayerful. I am trying to eat more balanced and healthy meals.

However, I am reminded, constructive stress is an effective tool in the hands of God, as He intends it both for His glory and "our" good. God designed our bodies to send us messages when we wander off course. As we learn to listen, we can learn to respond with new disciplines in out lives and find growth there.

We can all pause to properly listen to our bodies. This can help us feel better, and get on the right road to recovery. We may not always know what God is doing in our lives, but the important thing is, He does.

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