Tanja L. Gunsberger, D.O., a board-certified general surgeon at Tempe Surgical Specialists, a Physician Group of Arizona, Inc., practice offers up some tips to avoid heartburn.
"Baseball and summer barbeques are two of Americans' most beloved pastimes, but these traditions may involve eating foods that can induce heartburn symptoms - leaving people wincing in pain," said Gunsberger. "When out and about this summer, it can seem nearly impossible to avoid heartburn-inducing foods, but there are a few healthy eating habits that may help."
Eat This, Not That
· Eat this: Grilled chicken
· Not that: Chicken wings
Spicy food causes the stomach to produce more acid, which in turn can cause heartburn.
· Eat this: Turkey dog
· Not that: Chili dog
Chili is tomato-based and therefore acidic, while hot dogs can be high in fat. Ditch the chili and opt for a veggie, lean beef or a turkey dog instead. Also, avoid the onions and peppers and opt for condiments such as mustard and pickles.
· Eat this: Apples, pears, peaches
· Not that: Grapefruits, oranges.
Acidic foods like citrus fruits can trigger heartburn, especially if you eat them by themselves, or on an empty stomach.
· Drink this: Water with lemon
· Not that: Sodas, coffees and alcoholic beverages
Caffeinated beverages boost acid in the stomach and alcoholic beverages can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, leading to heartburn. On the other hand, having water with lemon with meals will dilute stomach acid, making heartburn less likely.
Tip: Eat the right portion size.
Tip: Keep a food journal to determine your heartburn triggers.
Tip: Don't eat a big meal and stop drinking liquids four hours prior to lying down.
There is another option for people who suffer from chronic heartburn. Those with heartburn twice a week or more may suffer from GERD.
Gunsberger said in a healthy patient, there is a natural valve between the esophagus and the stomach that forms a physical barrier - preventing stomach fluids from backwashing, or "refluxing," up into the esophagus. In a patient with chronic GERD, this valve has become dysfunctional, resulting in stomach contents and fluids returning to the esophagus. For mild cases of GERD, medications are available to alleviate the symptoms.
When medications aren't enough, surgery may be a viable option. There is a fairly new incisionless procedure, ESOPHYX® TIF® (Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication), which is available for GERD patients, according to Gunsberger.
Gunsberger said TIF takes a non-surgical approach to reconstructing the valve between the esophagus and the stomach to prevent reflux. Although TIF is based on the established principles of the conventional and laparoscopic surgical repairs of the anti-reflux barrier, TIF is performed through the patient's mouth - resulting in an incisionless procedure.
As a result, patients benefit from reduced pain, no visible scarring and speedy recovery - often within a matter of days, according to Gunsberger.
For more information
Tempe Surgical Specialists
1492 S. Mill Ave., Suite 201 (located at the Tempe St. Luke's medical offices building)
Mesa, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 557-0282
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