GERD is an ongoing condition that needs the expert care of a gastroenterologist to prevent further damage.
Symptoms can usually be managed with diet and medication; however, certain individuals may require further evaluation.
Reflux symptoms are caused by an improperly closing lower esophageal muscle ring that allows stomach contents to leak back up into the esophagus and back out again, which causes heartburn or other signs.
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GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes abnormally, allowing stomach acid to backflow up into the esophagus and cause heartburn, chest pain and difficulty swallowing.
Most cases of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms can be managed through lifestyle adjustments and medication. However, for people experiencing more severe, hard-to-manage symptoms surgery may be required.
One way to manage GERD is to identify foods that cause your LES to relax and promote reflux, through keeping a food diary. A food journal can also be beneficial in pinpointing those substances which cause your symptoms of GERD.
Studies have demonstrated the link between high fat fried foods like French fries and burgers and the development of heartburn, such as eliminating these from our diets, and reduced symptoms by almost 50% (53%).
Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products may help decrease stomach acid flow back into the esophagus – key for controlling heartburn.
Another key dietary change should include limiting carbonated drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol as they can contribute to reflux disease.
Avoid foods that irritate the lining of your esophagus, such as tomatoes, peppers, citrus fruit products and processed meats that may aggravate GERD symptoms and possibly lead to inflammation of your esophagus leading to esophagitis.
An excellent resource to gain more information on which foods cause GERD is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website, which contains a list of foods most likely to cause the condition. However, please keep in mind that this list doesn’t cover everything and some food may be more difficult than others to avoid.
Eating smaller meals
If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), eating smaller meals may help control its symptoms. Eating smaller meals allows your stomach to empty more quickly, decreasing acid reflux risks.
An excessively large meal can cause your stomach to expand, exerting pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter valve that normally seals and prevents stomach contents from seeping back up into your esophagus.
This can cause your esophagus to feel as though it’s burning, leading to heartburn, chest pain or difficulty swallowing. Furthermore, acid could leak out into your mouth and throat from inside.
In order to avoid this scenario, try eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day – for instance every 4-6 hours instead of every 3-5.
Avoiding large meals can help you achieve weight control while decreasing the risk of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Furthermore, increasing vegetable and fruit consumption as well as whole grain and protein-rich food consumption will all help.
Consume lean meats, poultry, seafood and low-fat dairy products for optimal nutrition. Also try including fish high in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet such as salmon, Atlantic mackerel, lake trout or sardines.
Food diaries can be an invaluable way of pinpointing what triggers your GERD symptoms. Tracking what you eat for several weeks will give you an idea of which items may cause problems for you personally.
Reducing symptoms of GERD by cutting back on certain types of foods may help, but changing your diet and lifestyle could also be necessary to combat its cause. Speak to your physician about what can be done to manage GERD effectively and reduce symptoms.
Avoiding lying down after eating
If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), lying down after eating can exacerbate your symptoms as lying flat can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) allowing stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus and worsening reflux disease symptoms.
Acid reflux can be extremely painful, as it causes your esophageal lining to irritate and burn, as well as chronic inflammation, potentially leading to acid reflux esophagitis (see here for more info).
GERD may lead to postprandial hypotension, in which your blood pressure drops when digesting but rises when not. This condition reveals itself through irregular readings on blood pressure monitors or during health examinations.
If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it’s wise to refrain from lying down for over 3 hours after eating as this could encourage stomach acid production, leading to worsened digestion and heartburn symptoms.
Another effective strategy for combatting GERD is selecting foods that help limit stomach acid production. Foods like apples and bananas contain alkaline substances which may help combat acid in your stomach.
Bananas can be especially helpful for people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) due to their potassium content, which can neutralize stomach acids. Just be sure that when eating them they’re still ripe versus unripe, as their alkaline qualities could change accordingly.
Baking soda mixed with water after each meal may also help neutralize acid, helping alleviate acid reflux symptoms and preventing further worsening of GERD. Drinking this solution could provide relief and prevent its worsening.
Other strategies you might try include eating smaller meals, forgoing alcohol consumption and engaging in physical exercise. If lifestyle adjustments don’t suffice, consult your physician for medication that could help control GERD symptoms.
Alcohol can be an irritating substance that weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), and lead to reflux symptoms. Though drinking moderately each week may not pose any major health concerns for most individuals, people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease should refrain from drinking altogether.
Alcohol damages the mucus lining of the stomach and hinders esophageal contractions, making acid to more easily move back up into the esophagus from its position in the stomach.
As drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help your body digest food more effectively and hydrate you, drinking lots of it helps ensure your digestive system functions smoothly while decreasing post-meal acid reflux that can cause heartburn.
Hydrating is essential to leading a long and fulfilling life, particularly for those living with GERD or reflux, since it may reduce stomach irritation and inflammation that could otherwise lead to complications like ulcers and Barrett’s Esophagus.
Many beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, coffee and tea can increase your risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Furthermore, certain foods like citrus fruits, fried foods, chocolate, onions peppermint and tomatoes can increase stomach acid production.
Most patients suffering from GERD can manage their symptoms using lifestyle modifications and medications alone; however, for some individuals surgery may be required in order to repair a hiatal hernia or strengthen the lower esophageal ring and thus stop reflux from happening.
GERD is a chronic, painful condition affecting both the stomach and esophagus. It may result in erosions and ulcers of the esophagus which may bleed, as well as narrowing of the esophagus called an esophageal stricture, which may prevent food or pills from passing through, leading to discomfort for sufferers.
Smoking tobacco poses one of the greatest known risks to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nicotine relaxes smooth muscle throughout your body, which could allow acid to leak backwards into your esophagus and trigger heartburn symptoms.
Heartburn is the name given to a burning sensation felt in the chest that may occur due to acid reflux in the esophagus, and can lead to serious complications, including cancer or Barrett’s esophagus.
GERD is more common after age 40, and smoking increases your risk. If you experience symptoms of GERD and wish to decrease heartburn, quitting smoking may help.
Stopping smoking can help manage GERD symptoms and help ward off serious medical complications, including esophageal cancer. Furthermore, this strategy can bring instant pain relief while improving overall health.
Avoiding smoking may also help you shed weight more effectively; excess pounds increase pressure on your stomach and can trigger heartburn and acid reflux episodes.
For best results in treating GERD, it is important to maintain a healthy weight range while eating a well-rounded diet and getting 150 minutes of physical activity every week.
One way to help manage GERD is to avoid eating large meals. These tend to cause heartburn, so restricting their consumption could help.
Smoking is one of the primary contributors to GERD, so making an effort to quit can significantly decrease heartburn and GERD symptoms – or, even better, eliminate them entirely!
Smoking may impair the effectiveness of the lower esophageal sphincter, which prevents stomach acids from flowing back up into your esophagus and into your esophagus. The sphincter is a tight band of muscle between your esophagus and stomach.