Acid Reflux and Fibroids

Acid Reflux and Fibroids 645d53cdc0063.png

Acid Reflux and Fibroids

Americans are gobbling up antiacids at a record pace, and amongst them are many women experiencing acid reflux due, in part, to uterine fibroids.

Whether it’s Tums, Pepcid AC, or powerful acid-reducing drugs such as esomeprazole (Nexium 24HR), lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR), and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC). 

So what exactly is acid reflux?

Acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a digestive disorder that causes uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • Heartburn – A burning sensation that can run from your throat to the center of your chest.
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid.
  • Chronic, dry cough.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • A sensation of a lump in your throat.
  • Horse or sore throat.

Acid reflux is caused by gastric acid from the stomach flowing back up into the esophagus. This typically happens when the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a muscle that briefly opens to let food into the stomach and closes to take food inside, relaxes too often or for too long. Not only can this cause the uncomfortable symptoms listed above, but when it occurs frequently and goes untreated, it can lead to serious health issues such as esophagitis, ulcers, strictures, aspiration pneumonia, and more.

Fortunately, acid reflux, when experienced infrequently, is normal. And, when experienced more frequently, is treatable. In fact, some estimates suggest that 95% of acid reflux issues can be resolved by making appropriate dietary changes.

So this is all very informative, but what does this have to do with women with uterine fibroids?

Well, in some cases, quite a lot.

Just like pregnancy can increase the experience of acid reflux due to the uterus becoming significantly enlarged above the belly button, this can also happen due to the same occurrence- but from uterine fibroids. The expanded uterus from the fibroids, especially in the case of large fibroids-  can cause pressure on the upper abdomen which can lead to abdominal pain, pressure, bloating, and yes, acid reflux.

Large fibroids in the uterus exacerbate issues with heartburn and acid reflux by making it more difficult for the lower esophageal sphincter to close properly. And, of course, when the sphincter is unable to work correctly, it leads to acid reflux.

One way to manage these acid reflux symptoms is to avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages. As well as steer clear of acidic foods such as citrus and tomatoes. Furthermore, researchers at the Cleveland Medical Center compiled a gastroenterologist-approved and research-backed list of the best and worst foods for acid reflux.

Best Foods for Acid Reflux

  • Chicken breast – Be sure to remove the fatty skin. Skip fried and instead choose baked, broiled or grilled.
  • Lettuce, celery and sweet peppers – These mild green veggies are easy on the stomach – and won’t cause painful gas.
  • Brown rice – This complex carbohydrate is mild and filling – just don’t serve it fried.
  • Melons – Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.
  • Oatmeal – Filling, hearty and healthy, this comforting breakfast standard also works for lunch.
  • Fennel – This low-acid crunchy vegetable has a mild licorice flavor and a natural soothing effect.
  • Ginger – Steep caffeine-free ginger tea or chew on low-sugar dried ginger for a natural tummy tamer.

Worst Foods for Reflux

  • Coffee and tea – Caffeinated beverages aggravate acid reflux. Opt for teas without caffeine.
  • Carbonated beverages – The bubbles expand in your stomach, creating more pressure and pain. Choose plain water or decaf iced tea.
  • Chocolate – This treat has a trifecta of acid reflux problems: caffeine, fat, and cocoa.
  • Peppermint –Don’t be fooled by its reputation for soothing the tummy; peppermint is an acid reflux trigger.
  • Grapefruit and orange – The high acidity of citrus fruits relaxes the esophagus sphincter and worsens symptoms.
  • Tomatoes – Also avoid marinara sauce, ketchup, and tomato soup – they’re all naturally high in acid.
  • Alcohol –This has a double whammy effect. Alcohol relaxes the sphincter valve but it also stimulates acid production in the stomach.
  • Fried foods – These are some of the worst foods for reflux. Skip the french fries, onion rings, and fried chicken — cook on the grill or in the oven at home.
  • Late-night snacks – Avoid eating anything in the two hours before you go to bed. Also, you can try eating four to five smaller meals throughout the day instead of two to three large meals.

Though this list of best and worst foods is a great resource and changing your diet can definitely help- When it comes to acid reflux caused by uterine fibroids, the most effective way to alleviate the symptoms is to treat the fibroids. This can be done by removing them or shrinking them through UFE.

Bottom line, if you are experiencing acid reflux as a result of your fibroids, there are solutions. In the short term, changing your diet can be very helpful. However, for long-term relief, it’s important to speak with your doctor and find the best fibroid treatment for your particular situation.

So call your doctor and set up an appointment today- and in the meantime, maybe pass on the McDonalds, and opt for some good ole’ chicken and rice instead.

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