But, really, having acid reflux is not as bad as you think. And with your doctor telling you that you can, indeed, have a piece of everything that you have enjoyed then — from a can of soda to, yes, even booze, you know that a life with heartburn can’t be that hard after all.
You can’t expect your doctor to hand you a magic pill when you start complaining about your heartburn symptoms. In fact, heartburn is not something you expect to get “fixed” after taking your meds. Yes, the symptoms may be reduced, but the reality is you have to live by with heartburn, unless you start making real changes in your lifestyle. Aside from all the adjustments that you have to make when preparing a meal, acid reflux may also mean introducing changes with how you live your life everyday.
Anyone who suffers from heartburn symptoms and acid reflux will tell you that their schedules and to-do lists are partly determined by their doctor’s advice. From the time you hit the gym to planning your next vacation, managing and controlling heartburn is something that you should start to live with.
If you have been living a carefree and relaxed lifestyle before your doctor confirmed that you have been suffering from heartburn, it is important that you start your journey by accepting that fact that managing your condition will take a lot of work. Changing the way you live your life is undeniably one of the hardest things that people need to accept when managing heartburn. But with patience and determination, slowly seeing how these changes will fit into the bigger and definitely better future will make you realize that all these efforts are worth it.
To each his own – a truth that speaks not only about one’s preferences but also of heartburn. You know what heartburn feels like, but what triggers your symptoms are quite unique and, in fact, different from one person to another. This is why it is almost impossible for any doctor to have a Black Book that details what food to avoid and what menu to permanently erase off your idea of a perfect dinner.
In managing your heartburn symptoms and condition, you are your doctor’s best aid: You. Aside from the fact that you don’t have a personal dietician whom your doctor can coordinate with about your diet (except, of course, if you do have one), you are the only person your doctor can rely on in remembering what food and beverages you enjoyed before your symptoms kick in. Managing heartburn requires being a mindful eater: Knowing what to eat, what to avoid, how to eat, and having the determination to stick to a heartburn-free menu. If you are new to all these, take small baby steps; start by keeping a food journal to help you and your doctor to pin down what items to avoid.
If for some people heartburn may come after gulping a soda or indulging in a plate of perfectly fried fries, your symptoms may kick in after you had that after-dinner mint. But what makes heartburn difficult to diagnose is that it can be caused by one thing today and another thing tomorrow.
Knowing which triggered the burn may be difficult if you rely on memory alone. If you are to manage heartburn and really pin down the culprit, you need to do more than just asking someone you are having dinner what you just ate before you felt the burn. It takes precision and accuracy, and for that you need to have your log book always with you. Work with your doctor and help him determine what caused and may trigger your symptoms. You need to be specific, not just I’ve-been-to-that-greasy-joint-downtown type. Write a detailed picture of your meal time: From the time you ate to what was featured in your plate to what you did after.
After a month or two, your log should be able to paint a vivid and more visible picture of your lifestyle’s relationship with your symptoms. The next step for you should be heading towards your doctor and not towards the trashcan. Your log contains everything that your doctor needs to make recommendations that go beyond antacids. Use this information to make the necessary changes with your schedule — from sleeping to travelling.
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