Parties. For many, they’re the highlight of the holiday season.
But parties also mess with our diets and our sleep. Eating heavy meals, drinking coffee and alcohol, and partying into the wee hours of the night may aggravate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, including acid reflux.
Here are five ways to enjoy the holidays and keep acid reflux at bay:
1. Don’t Skip Your PPI. Many with GERD take proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec and Nexium, which work by turning off some of the acid pumps in the stomach. Most PPIs are available over-the-counter.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a FOX News contributor, said acid reflux sufferers should be vigilant about taking their PPIs during the holidays, especially before heading out to a party.
2. Take Antacids With a Big Meal. Antacid medication like Rolaids, Tums, Maalox and Mylanta can be taken in addition to PPIs, said Siegel.
“Take your PPI in the morning and have antacids in the afternoon with your meal,” he said.
H2 blockers, like Zantac, are also complementary to PPIs and work by blocking the signal that leads to acid secretion, Siegel said. Taking either an H2 blocker or antacids with a big meal will further reduce the acid production and stomach irritation that may accompany a large meal. H2 blockers should be taken before meals by acid reflux sufferers who are not currently taking a PPI, Siegel said.
3. Drink Lots of Water. “It’s the holidays and everyone wants to cheat around the holidays,” Siegel said. “And you can, if you do it in moderation. But a lot of people don’t know that drinking a lot of water always decreases the symptoms of GERD.”
4. Eat Smaller, Frequent Meals. Rather than sitting down to one huge meal, break your holiday eating down into several smaller meals. Siegel recommended eating every three hours and exerting portion control.
5. Avoid Late-Night Eating. “Watch out eating too close to bed time,” Siegel said. “I definitely wouldn’t eat a huge meal at 10:00 at night. This is why it’s better to have big meals in the afternoon.”
Siegel also recommended limiting coffee and alcohol intake, especially around bedtime.
“It may be the time of the year to cheat, but people with severe acid reflux really need to be careful,” he added. “Cheat, but do it in small amounts.”