13 Lifestyle Changes Treatmen To Acid Reflux (GERD)
1. Elevation Of The Upper Body
Reflux of acid is more injurious at night than during the day. At night, when individuals are lying down, it is easier for reflux to occur. The reason that it is easier is because gravity is not opposing the reflux, as it does in the upright position during the day. The lack of an effect of gravity allows the refluxed liquid to travel further up the esophagus and remain in the esophagus longer.
These problems can be overcome partially by elevating the upper body in bed. The elevation is accomplished either by putting blocks under the bed's feet at the head of the bed or, by sleeping with the upper body on a wedge. These maneuvers raise the esophagus above the stomach and partially restore the effects of gravity. It is important that the upper body and not just the head be elevated. Elevating only the head does not raise the esophagus and fails to restore the effects of gravity.
Elevation of the upper body at night generally is recommended for all patients with GERD. Nevertheless, most patients with GERD have reflux only during the day and elevation at night is of little benefit for them. It is not possible to know for certain which patients will benefit from elevation at night unless acid testing clearly demonstrates night reflux. However, patients who have heartburn, regurgitation, or other symptoms of GERD at night are probably experiencing reflux at night and definitely should use upper body elevation. Reflux also occurs less frequently when patients lie on their left rather than their right sides.
2. Smaller, More Frequent Meals
First, the smaller meal results in lesser distention of the stomach. Second, by bedtime, a smaller and earlier meal is more likely to have emptied from the stomach than is a larger one. Reflux is less likely to occur when patients with GERD lie down.
3. Quit Smoking
4. Reduce Caffeine Intake
5. Stress Reduction
6. Avoid Foods That Cause Heartburn
Avoid foods that cause heartburn by delaying gastric emptying or increasing acid exposure. Such as chocolate, onions, spearmint, peppermint, fat, coffee, garlic, citrus juices.
7. Reduce Alcohol Intake
8. Reduce Fat Intake
9. Obtain Ideal Body Weight
10. Avoid Lying Down After Meals
11. Avoid Exercising On A Full Stomach
12. Avoid Tight Fitting Clothes Around The Waist
13. Chewing Gum
One novel approach to the treatment of GERD is chewing gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of more bicarbonate-containing saliva and increases the rate of swallowing. After the saliva is swallowed, it neutralizes acid in the esophagus. In effect, chewing gum exaggerates the normal process that neutralizes acid in the esophagus. It is not clear, however, how effective chewing gum actually is in treating heartburn. Nevertheless, chewing gum after meals is certainly worth a try.