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Is Acid Reflux Affecting Your Swimming

Acid Reflux occurs when the muscles in the lower esophagus do not properly close, and allow acid that has built up in the stomach to leak back into the esophagus. The interaction of the acid with these tissues not meant to withstand it can cause heartburn and other symptoms. Including a bitter taste in the back of the throat, and increased salivation, among other things.


Due to the horizontal angle our bodies sit at in the water, swimming can often trigger the effects of Acid Reflux more often than engaging in other activities. Which can potentially mean heartburn whenever you swim. Your diet can also contribute to how badly you are affected. Avoiding acidic and fatty foods and making sure to eat at least two hours before you swim can help to reduce the level of acid in the stomach.

Ways to help prevent or manage Acid Reflux:

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  • Since the source of this irritation comes from acid in the stomach, limiting pressure on the abdominal region can help. Relax while swimming to reduce strain, and breath deeply and evenly where possible to limit this pressure.

  • Wearing a suit that is too tight can increase pressure on the abdominal area and as a result, apply pressure on the stomach that forces acid up towards the throat.

  • Manage what you eat and how soon you eat before swimming. Make sure that you eat around two hours before you swim, as an empty stomach can also cause heartburn.

  • Switching to backstroke when experiencing Acid Reflux can help acid drain back into the stomach, and stop symptoms at least temporarily.

Swimming forces us into a prone position, which places pressure on the gastrointestinal tract, and allows an easier path for stomach acid to go back up the esophagus.

Acid Reflux may occur most often in swimmers.

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