Menopause

Menopause and Acid Reflux

animated woman with stomach pain

Menopause can bring an unexpected twist for many women – the discomfort of acid reflux. It’s not just about heartburn, but also chest pain, swallowing difficulties, and even bad breath.  A study of 492 women revealed that a high proportion – 42% – of menopausal ladies face annoying upper gastrointestinal problems. While these may start off as minor irritations, they can evolve into a full-blown chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

How does Menopause trigger acid reflux?

Hormones affected in menopause such as progesterone and estrogen play a crucial role in regulating our digestive system. However, when these hormones are running low, it introduces a  whirlwind of digestive troubles including acid reflux, constipation, and even nausea or vomiting. These are intensified if you smoke, carry extra weight, or take particular medications, making it even more essential to be mindful of your lifestyle choices.

How can I stop acid reflux during menopause?

Eat small, frequent meals 

Feasting on massive meals can stretch your stomach to its limits, loosening the grip of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – a vital ring keeping stomach contents from going the wrong way. Maintain its tight defense by opting for small, frequent meals, such as a mini breakfast, lunch, and dinner, accompanied by a snack in between each to keep hunger at bay.

Maintain a straight posture when eating and for an hour after eating

Sitting straight whilst eating allows for better digestion, as gravity helps keep food within the stomach.

Avoid eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime

Ditch the late-night snacking and hold off on eating for 2-3 hours before hitting the hay, as it will allow gravity to keep stomach acid in its place and avoid a restless night of heartburn and reflux..

Avoid reflux-triggering foods

Fruits and vegetables with high acid content can trigger acid reflux symptoms, including oranges, limes, lemons and tomatoes, as well as spicy food, coffee, soda, alcohol and chocolate.

Stop smoking

Smoking cigarettes can make heartburn worse, as it  hampers the acid removal process in your gut and weakens the LES, increasing those pesky reflux symptoms.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

Obesity can escalate the risk of GERD due to extra belly weight putting pressure on the stomach and causing stomach acid to move up into the esophagus.

Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day

Embark on energizing activities like strolling, embracing yoga, or cycling to alleviate gastric reflux symptoms and boost your overall wellbeing.

Conclusion

As menopause brings its challenges, acid reflux can be an unwelcome companion for many middle-aged women. Nonetheless, relief can be achieved through a blend of lifestyle shifts and alternative medicine. Keep in mind, every woman’s body is unique, so document your journey to discover what works best for you. With determination and innovation, you’ll wave goodbye to acid reflux in no time!

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