Heartburn quickly becomes a painful agony when it occurs more frequently. Here you can find out from an expert when reflux disease begins and how you can combat the causes.

Reflux disease can be distressing: belching, frequent heartburn, difficulty swallowing, burning in the throat, stomach noises. The list of possible symptoms is even longer than this list. This restricts those affected in everyday life. They are often no longer able to enjoy eating and drinking and sometimes have trouble sleeping because of the symptoms. What helps?

So much in advance: there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But there are different approaches that sufferers can try, according to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare on the “Gesundheitsinformation.de” portal.

In reflux disease, the closure at the junction of the esophagus and stomach does not work properly – muscles actually keep it closed. If the mechanism is disrupted, gastric juice can flow back into the esophagus and cause problems.

Does cutting out certain foods, smoking, or alcohol help? All of this can be worth a try, the portal says. But: Whether and how changing behavior helps against heartburn and acid regurgitation has not been well researched.

Coffee, chocolate, greasy or spicy foods, citrus fruits, or carbonated drinks are among the foods that may trigger symptoms. It is worth monitoring this closely and adjusting your diet if the worst comes to the worst. However, there is no general guarantee that the symptoms will change if you change your eating habits.

It often takes some time and patience to find out which foods are not well tolerated. It may also become apparent in the course of this that the food is not the cause of these symptoms at all. Other possible triggers include stress, a rupture of the diaphragm or disorders of the esophagus, such as hypersensitivity.

Weight loss is also often advised for overweight people with acid reflux disease. Reason: The extra pounds could put pressure on the esophagus and stomach, among other things, which may disrupt the closure at the end of the esophagus. However, the experts counter: Even thin people who eat a rather low-fat diet could have reflux and heartburn.

Avoiding late meals or elevating your upper body when sleeping can be worth trying to prevent reflux symptoms at night. Another tip for testing: Turn to the left side – then the gastric obstruction is on top.

If lifestyle changes do not improve, medication may be a way to improve symptoms. If there is no success here either, anti-reflux surgery is an option. A part of the stomach is placed completely or partially around the esophagus.

According to the portal, there are indications that those who have been operated on feel less restricted by heartburn and reflux than people who take medication. But this can only be said for the first year after the operation. Whether the intervention performs better in the long term compared to medication has not been well studied.

And: Just as the medicines can have side effects, undesirable consequences are also possible with the procedure – these include, for example, difficulty swallowing.