Heartburn From GERD: Daily Habits

Dec 22, 2023

The most frequent therapies for gastroesophageal reflux disease include antacids that may be purchased over-the-counter and drugs that a doctor prescribes. Surgery could even be necessary to treat the condition if it becomes bad.

No matter how severe your GERD symptoms are, you must adjust your lifestyle to treat heartburn and acid reflux properly. These adjustments may include everything from the foods you consume to your clothing. These seven behaviors, if maintained daily, can reduce the severity of GERD symptoms.

Small, Frequent Meals

Meals are often what sets off the symptoms of GERD. Buffets that allow you to eat as much as you want will almost certainly give you heartburn. The lower esophageal sphincter, also known as the LES, is a valve between the esophagus and the stomach. This valve may relax when your stomach is full, allowing stomach acids to travel back into the esophagus.

Instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch, and supper, try breaking your meals into numerous smaller meals spread throughout the day. (However, make sure that your final meal is early enough in the evening since eating too close to sleep might also cause GERD symptoms.)

Cut Out Certain Foods

Whether it's chocolate or coffee, some foods and beverages are renowned for worsening the symptoms of GERD. On the list are peppermint, spicy foods, chocolate, fatty red meat, fried foods (including French fries and other fried meals), citrus fruits, raw onions, tomatoes, butter, oil, peppermint, and spicy foods. You do not have to resign yourself to a diet consisting of cooked chicken and bananas.

Don't Drink Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is not recommended for most persons who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), particularly if excessive amounts are consumed daily. Drinking alcohol causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, making it easier for stomach acid to enter the esophagus.

According to the findings of research published in the American Journal of Medicine in 1999, the proportion of participants who reported having symptoms of reflux rose in correlation with the number of drinks drunk every week. Those who consumed more than seven alcoholic beverages every week were most prone to heartburn.

Another Reason To Shed Pounds

Having more weight on your body might make you more susceptible to acid reflux and heartburn. The International Journal of Epidemiology published a research in 2003 that examined more than 10,000 patients and showed a significant correlation between GERD symptoms and body mass index. Persons who are obese are roughly three times more likely to suffer from heartburn and acid reflux than people whose weight is considered normal.

The reason for this is a mystery to the specialists. The presence of excess abdominal fat may put pressure on the stomach, but it can also cause changes in chemistry or hormones that make the body more prone to acid reflux.

Don't Wear Tight Clothing

Similar to the effects of extra belly fat, a snug fit around the middle of your clothes may press on your stomach and cause stomach acid to be forced into the esophagus. But even if they are adorable, are they worth the price? If you suffer from heartburn, you should avoid wearing anything that is excessively tight, including waistbands, belts, hosiery, and undergarments.

Head Up, Sleep Better

What role does sleep have in the development of heartburn? More than you could ever imagine. Avoid eating in the hours leading up to the night, and try sleeping with your head elevated by six to eight inches.

The frequency of acid reflux may not necessarily be reduced by lying in this posture, but research indicates that it does speed up the process by which stomach acid drains from the esophagus. According to the findings of one research, the amount of time needed to eliminate acid from the body increased by 67%.

You don't happen to have a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed, do you? Make your bed more comfortable by propping it up on specially built blocks or using a foam wedge, both of which are available at most home improvement retailers. (The effectiveness of piling the pillows on top of each other is diminished.)

Quit smoking

It is common knowledge that smoking is bad for the heart and the lungs. However, what about the digestive system you have? That is correct as well. Both nicotine and alcohol have been shown to aggravate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which in turn allows stomach acid to flow backward into the esophagus.

Additionally, smoking causes bile salts to move from the small intestine into the stomach, decreasing the quantity of saliva produced in the mouth. (Saliva includes bicarbonate, a natural acid-fighting compound that helps push acid from the stomach and out of the esophagus.)