2. Eating less than three hours before bedtime
3. Caffeine, including coffee and soft drinks
5. Citrus, tomato, and cranberry fruits and juices
6. Ice cream or milkshakes
7. Chocolate (one of the worst offenders)
8. Sour cream
9. High-fat desserts
10. Peppermint (one of the most potent esophageal sphincter relaxers of all! Avoid those after-dinner mints)
11. Wearing overly tight clothing.
HOW IS REFLUX DIAGNOSED?
Your doctor may suspect reflux based on your symptoms, and will typically confirm the diagnosis with an upper endoscopy, especially if any red-flag symptoms are present. These flags may include:
1. Difficult or uncomfortable swallowing
2. Unexpected weight loss
3. Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
4. Black, tarry stools
An onset of symptoms after age 50
A sudden disappearance of reflux symptoms without any change in lifestyle, body weight or medication may suggest the development of Barrett's esophagus--a mutation that will protect you against reflux but can lead to cancer of the esophagus.
The antacid aisle at the drug store can be confusing. There are dozens of options, which offer different results, and it's important to have a basic understanding of how they work and what can be expected of each type.