Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GE) is a result of a faulty lower esophageal sphincter. When this ring doesn’t close properly, the contents of your stomach leak back into your esophagus and affect the back of your throat to cause a burning in the chest. If you experience this heartburn sensation more than twice a week, it’s diagnosed as GERD, and over time it can lead to serious health problems.
Medications can be used to ease symptoms, but lifestyle changes, especially those involving your diet, may be enough to relieve the discomfort caused by GERD. Our team here at GastroDoxs in Cypress, Texas, can help you adopt these habits.
Achieve a healthy weight
When you’re overweight or obese, the extra pounds put pressure on your abdomen. This pushes up your stomach and causes acid reflux. We can help guide you with dietary and exercise recommendations.
Elevate the head of your bed
Lying flat in bed can make it hard to find comfort when you have GERD. Use blocks or an adjustable bed to prop your head end up 6-9 inches. This allows a better flow of digestion so you don’t have a backup into your esophagus.
Better yet, don’t lie down after a meal, and wait about three hours after eating before reclining.
Eat small, frequent meals
Large meals can increase pressure on your stomach and trigger reflux. When you eat, chew thoroughly and enjoy your food at a leisurely pace.
Smoking makes it harder for your lower esophageal sphincter to function. Smoking also increases your production of stomach acid. If you need assistance to quit smoking, the team at GastroDoxs can help.
Avoid tight clothes
Constrictive waistbands and belts put pressure on your stomach, resulting in potential reflux symptoms. Loose clothing helps all of your body relax.
Eat the right foods
Certain foods can trigger GERD symptoms. Avoid caffeine, carbonation, tomatoes, mints, alcohol, garlic and onions, spicy foods, and fried or greasy foods. Chocolate can also be a GERD trigger.
A GERD-friendly diet
When you plan meals, include foods that are less likely to trigger GERD symptoms. Avoiding the trigger foods above, or any others that bother you, is the most important strategy. You also may want to keep your fat intake to a minimum, because fat stays in the stomach longer and may worsen GERD symptoms.
To limit fat, using fat-free and low-fat dairy are good choices. You can also opt for low-fat versions of sour cream, mayonnaise, and salad dressings.
For protein, stick to baked, roasted, or grilled lean proteins such as lean pork, shellfish, eggs, low fat deli meats, and dried beans.
Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables, but if you find any triggers – such as citrus – avoid them. All vegetables, aside from tomatoes and onions, tend to be relatively safe for GERD. Try not to add too much fat when cooking them.
It can be hard to make all these changes without adequate support, but you can trust our specialists at GastroDoxs to help you manage GERD. Contact our office if you’re concerned about GERD symptoms and need help keeping your symptoms at bay.