People who’ve lived with acid reflux for more than a few months start to develop a new way of approaching life that isn’t exactly ideal. Foods you once chomped down on without a second thought now have you pausing before you indulge, exercises that were once easy to complete may have you tossing back a Tums. In fact, many of the new changes brought on by chronic acid reflux have the power to alter or even take over our lives.
If you’ve noticed that what used to be occasional reflux is now creeping more steadily into your life and impacting your daily activities, you may be experiencing the signs of GERD, a more serious condition that stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. If any of the bottom circumstances apply to you, then you may want to speak to your doctor about the signs of GERD.
You May Suffer From GERD If…
1. You know the pH level of almost every food item you see.
Food is a huge heartburn trigger for patients with GERD, so if you suffer from the condition then chances are you’ve taken note that acidic foods often result in painful heartburn and have started monitoring pH levels accordingly. That seemingly harmless tomato weighs in at a 3.5 on the scale, which makes it a big nope for anyone looking to avoid a bout of food-triggered heartburn!
2. You constantly wonder whether it’s a heart attack or just another bad episode of heartburn.
You know all too well how badly heartburn can hurt your chest, so much so that on one occasion or another you’ve actually questioned whether what you thought was heartburn is actually something more serious. Don’t feel bad if this is the case! A bad episode of heartburn can mimic many of the symptoms of a heart attack. There are a few ways you can determine whether it’s heartburn or a heart attack, but if you’re ever unsure then it’s better to be safe and contact your doctor!
3. You’ve gone out of your way to find that one coffee brand with very low acid levels.
Whether it’s researching brands online or going to every coffee shop in your neighborhood to ask about coffee with low-acid levels, you’ve probably gone through a lot of trouble just to find that one brand of coffee that may or may not work for your acid reflux. Chances are that it’s a cold brew, too! They’re notorious for having lower acid levels.
4. You can detailedly describe the uses for Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and Nexium.
If you’ve complained to your doctor about acid reflux, they may have just prescribed you a PPI, or proton pump inhibitor. These medications don’t actually stop the acid reflux from traveling up your stomach and esophagus, they just prevent you from feeling its discomfort. But, you probably already knew that.
5. Belts around the waist are a thing of the past.
If you’ve got GERD then you probably stay light around the waist because, as you’ve experienced, anything tight or suppressing actually affects your acid reflux. Ever since you’ve had to say “so long” to anything too fitted or tight.
6. Dining out has become more of a scavenger hunt than a relaxing evening event.
Dining out may have once been the perfect little way to break the routine or simply skip out on having to cook, but now it’s just about finding a restaurant with the right meal options so that you can actually eat without repercussion.
7. Your alcohol stash hasn’t been touched in years.
You look at it with yearning, but then you remember how horrible your acid reflux gets after a few glasses of wine and all of a sudden you remember why you don’t drink anymore.
8. Citrus-anything is not a “refreshment” option.
Summer comes and with it the promise of fresh, cold lemonade or a nice glass of orange juice in the morning. Except, these options sound more hot than cool since they give you a serious case of heartburn.
9. Your food (like your life) has become blander than unseasoned tofu...which, by the way, is “good” for you.
Eating isn’t what it used to be and you really don’t even enjoy it anymore. And, the foods that are “good” for your health, aren’t that good for your appetite.
10. You have a “foods to avoid with acid reflux” list stuck on your refrigerator door.
First, there were the food items your doctor made sure to point out. Then, over time, the list grew after every unfortunate meal. Now you resort to it every time you’re not sure whether a particular food item means danger, and you’ve learned to stick by it.
If these situations sound very familiar, then it’s likely that your chronic acid reflux is actually a symptom of an underlying condition: gastroesophageal reflux disease. Speak to one of our reflux specialists who’ll be able to determine if your symptoms are signs of GERD and develop a treatment plan that will help get you back on track and heartburn-free. To speak to a reflux specialist, book your appointment today!