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Articles > Outsmart the reflux that can sneak up on you!

Outsmart the reflux that can sneak up on you!

Sugarland_s Jennifer Nettles had no clue her voice troubles were due to _silent_ reflux. Today, she_s a pro at protecting herself_and her career!

Linda Childers

Provided by HealthMonitor

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What could be worse than losing your voice when you've got a big gig'and fans waiting? Not much, says 37-year-old Jennifer Nettles, half of the country music group Sugarland'and she should know:
A decade ago recurring laryngitis caused her to cancel more than one concert, but strain or overuse wasn't the culprit. Instead, the Grammy Award-winning singer discovered she was battling laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR.
'I was surprised," says Jennifer, "because I didn't have heartburn." In fact, LPR is called "silent reflux" because it doesn't produce the fire behind the breastbone many folks with acid reflux feel. Luckily, Jennifer has found relief by taking medication and using these strategies.
1Nix anxiety with exercise. "I've found stress to be a horrible instigator for acid reflux," Jennifer says, who finds herself doing a lot more throat clearing when she's on the road, away from the comforts of home. One reason tension takes a toll? It increases the sensitivity of the esophagus to even small amounts of your stomach acid. The good news? Snuffing stress helps decrease reflux symptoms. Jennifer relies on yoga; but, if yoga's not your thing, a breathing meditation can help. To do, sit quietly and focus on your breath, inhaling for six seconds, and then exhaling for six seconds.

2Skip PM noshing. While it can be tempting to grab a snack after a concert, Jennifer steers clear. "I eat dinner between 5 and 6 pm," she says. "And I make that my last meal of the evening." It's a good strategy since lying down within three hours of eating can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES (the valve between the esophagus and the stomach), encouraging it to open and allow food and gastric juices to flow back up the esophagus.
3Ban bubbly drinks. "Staying hydrated is huge when you're a singer," says Jennifer. But she knows better than to quench her thirst with soda. Carbonated beverages reduce the strength of the LES, allowing it to open more easily. Instead, she sticks with water'not only does it preserve the LES, it also helps wash any escaped acid back into the stomach!

4Lay off spicy foods. Chilies, strong salsa, and Mexican and Indian foods often aggravate acid reflux, and spicy foods in general tend to weaken the LES. Jennifer concurs, "I used to enjoy spicy foods, but I definitely noticed they cause me to clear my throat constantly and they cause hoarseness."

5Dodge a binge. "If I let myself get too hungry and then eat a large meal, it makes my reflux worse," Jennifer says. Indeed, eating large meals makes your LES relax and open more. Instead, Jennifer eats five or six small meals a day, a strategy that's study-proven to fight back against reflux!
Anxiety Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Acid Indigestion Acid Reflux Anxiety Difficulty Breathing Excessive Thirst Heartburn Hoarseness Indigestion, Acid Laryngeal Voice Loss of Strength Non-Cardiac Chest Pain Polydipsia Pyrosis Reflux, Acid Stress Thirst Exercise More Upset Stomach

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