Crackers are a common food item that are made of wheat and other grains, with the addition of sodium (salt). These ingredients cause acid reflux in some people.
However, there are plenty of other foods that can cause acid reflux.
Here we describe the types of foods that can cause acid reflux and how to avoid them.
Foods that cause acid reflux
Foods that cause acid reflux include:
- Citrus fruits
- Carbonated drinks
- Chocolate chips
- Cottage cheese
- Fermented foods
- Potato chips
- Soup mixes
- Sugary foods
- Sugar substitutes
- Tomato products
You can avoid foods that can cause acid reflux by following a few steps:
- Start by eating smaller meals at regular intervals.
- Eat a light meal with no other high-fiber foods, such as crackers, bread, or cereal.
- Add protein and low-fat dairy to your meal.
- Eat small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Stay away from tomato sauce.
- Avoid foods that contain alcohol, carbonated drinks, and foods that contain caffeine.
- Avoid foods that contain gluten or corn.
If your symptoms persist, you should speak to your doctor. They can diagnose the cause of your acid reflux and recommend an appropriate treatment.
What causes acid reflux?
Causes of acid reflux include:
- Lifestyle habits. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating foods that are high in fat and sodium.
- Certain foods. These include citrus fruits, chocolates, carbonated drinks, and foods that contain gluten or corn.
- Medication. These include medications that treat acid reflux, such as the medications ranitidine (Zantac) and famotidine (Pepcid).
If you have acid reflux and you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
If you have a food allergy, your doctor may prescribe you a medication that will help you avoid some of the foods that can cause acid reflux.
If the cause of your acid reflux is not certain, you should speak to your doctor or a dietitian.
Risk factors for acid reflux
Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk of developing acid reflux.
Other risk factors for acid reflux include:
- Having GERD. This is a condition that causes acid reflux when stomach contents that are acid move back up into your esophagus.
- Eating before bed. This is a common habit among people who have GERD.
- Consuming large meals. Eating large meals, especially at mealtimes, can push stomach contents into your esophagus.
- Exercising and eating a large meal. This can cause stomach contents to move into your esophagus.
How long does acid reflux last?
Acid reflux can last for a few days or weeks.
You should speak to your doctor if your symptoms continue or become worse.
Treatment for acid reflux
Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat acid reflux.
Medications for acid reflux include:
- Antacids. These can help reduce the amount of stomach acid in your esophagus.
- Proton pump inhibitors. These can reduce or prevent stomach acid from moving up into your esophagus.
- H2 blockers. These can reduce stomach acid.
- Antibiotics. These can treat bacterial infections.
If your symptoms last more than a few weeks, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the esophagus.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may suggest that you use a bougie or dilation to reduce the size of your esophagus.
Complications of acid reflux
If left untreated, acid reflux can cause complications, such as:
- Swallowing difficulties. This can cause difficulty swallowing food and liquid.
- Constipation. This can lead to a lack of regularity in your bowel movements.
- Heartburn. This may cause heartburn.
- Barrett’s esophagus. This can lead to esophageal cancer.
When to see a doctor?
See your doctor if you have acid reflux more than twice a week, or if you have symptoms that do not go away after a few weeks.
If you have any of the following symptoms, consult your doctor:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Food stuck in your throat
- Swallowing difficulty
- A sour taste in your mouth
What is the outlook for acid reflux?
Acid reflux can be treated with lifestyle changes and medications.
For example, when lifestyle changes do not help, your doctor may prescribe a medication.
Your doctor may also suggest that you use a bougie or dilation to reduce the size of your esophagus.
If you have acid reflux and you have a chronic condition, such as GERD, and your doctor prescribes medications, you should take them as prescribed.
If your acid reflux does not improve, or if it worsens, you should speak to your doctor.
Preventing acid reflux
You can help prevent acid reflux by:
- Eating smaller meals. This can reduce the amount of stomach acid that moves into your esophagus.
- Eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Staying away from foods that contain gluten or corn.
Your dietitian can help you learn how to eat a healthy diet that helps prevent acid reflux.
If your acid reflux is severe or you are having difficulties with your symptoms, you should get a doctor’s appointment.
You can contact the Gastro Institute on 1866646676 during out-of-office hours.
Out-of-office hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also contact the Gastro Institute on 1866646676 during off-hours.
The Gastro Institute is located at:
- 2655 W. 16th St.
Chicago, IL 60625
- Call (312) 9891188
The Gastro Institute is a service of The Johns Hopkins Health System.
Acid reflux can be treated with medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery.
If you do not treat acid reflux, it can lead to serious complications.
For example, if left untreated, acid reflux can cause complications, such as:
If you or someone you know has acid reflux, you or they should speak to their doctor
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