Diet Changes For Gerd
Proper treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease always begins with a visit to a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis. It is important to recognize that chronic reflux does not get better on its own. Over-the-counter remedies may provide short-term symptom relief, but can mask an underlying disease if used long-term.
Symptoms of GERD
Just about everyone has had heartburn that uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest after eating a heavy meal at some point in their life. But, while occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, heartburn that occurs more than once a week, becomes more severe, or occurs at night and wakes you from sleep may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease . And, a visit to the doctor is advised.
Treatment for GERD may include medications advised by your doctor and certain diet and lifestyle changes. A combination of approaches, and some trial and error, may be necessary.
Diet and lifestyle changes often begin with what to avoid. These include things that can trigger or worsen symptoms.
Examples of things to reduce or steer clear of in your diet include:
- High fat foods
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Watch What You Eat Drink And Do
Making some changes to your lifestyle can go a long way toward easing the pain of heartburn.
Say goodbye to cigarettes. Smoking causes your body to make less saliva, a liquid that helps stamp out stomach acid. That can lead to burning in your esophagus. Tobacco may also cause your stomach to make more acid and relax the muscles at the lower end of your esophagus that can shut down the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. Chewing gum and sucking on lozenges can help you make more saliva.
Donât lie down after you eat. If you need an afternoon siesta, snooze upright in a chair. Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed, and donât make the last meal of the day your biggest one.
Raise the head of your bed. If the top of your bed is higher than the bottom, itâs harder for the acid to travel up. You can do this with a block of wood under the bed or a foam wedge under the mattress.
Be careful what medications you use. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other medications, such as some sedatives and blood pressure drugs, can trigger heartburn. Ask your doctor if any of your medications might be causing your symptoms. There may be something else you can take.
Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing, including belts, can cause stomach contents to push upward.
C Make All The Necessary Lifestyle Changes
There are many things you can do besides maintaining a healthy BMI and following a GERD friendly diet. Here is a short list of recommendations you should consider:
- Avoid alcohol
- If you smoke, stop immediately
- Leave at least 3 hours between your final meal and bedtime
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Drink plenty of water
- Walk for 20 minutes after a major meal to aid digestion
- Try eating 5 or 6 small meals daily
For a more thorough list of recommendations, we recommend you read Acid Reflux Remedies Questions, Answers, Stages & Treatments.
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The Best Drinks For Heartburn
Chronic acid reflux is likely to inspire any number of lifestyle changes, and choice of beverages may be one of them. Many go-to drinks like coffee and sodas are likely to aggravate heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux, which in its chronic form is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. If youre used to reaching for soft drinks, caffeinated beverages or certain fruit juices when youre thirsty, consider switching to alternatives that may actually relieve symptoms rather than trigger them.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, dropping a few pounds can help resolve heartburn symptoms not least because you are less likely to eat high-fat foods on a diet. Losing as little as 2.5 pounds can help reduce heartburn symptoms, according to David A. Johnson, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine.7
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Elevate Your Upper Body While Sleeping
Acid reflux often gets worse at night, because when you lie down, it is easier for stomach acid to flow into your esophagus. You can improve nighttime symptoms by changing the angle of your body during sleep.
Specifically, it is helpful to raise your head and shoulders above your stomach and keep your esophagus tilted downward. For example, you can elevate the head of your bed or prop yourself up on a slanted pillow. This lets gravity help clear anything that comes into the esophagus at night, says Wolf.
A small 2011 study found that people who elevated the head of their beds with an 8-inch block for one week saw significant improvements in their heartburn symptoms and had less disturbed sleep.
And a 2016 review of four studies found that even for people already taking acid reflux medications, adding an elevated sleeping position helped symptoms more than just taking medication alone.
To elevate your bed, you can use bed risers under the top two feet of your bed frame, or if this isnt possible, you can buy a sloped pillow to help angle your head and shoulders upward while sleeping.
A Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
Do you know your body mass index ? If not, start now by entering your weight and height into a BMI calculator to use the NIH calculator and find your current BMI.
A healthy BMI is between 19 and 25, but anyone with a compromised LES should not be at the high end of normal. We recommend a BMI of 24 or less. Why is this important? We wrote a cornerstone article titled How is your excess weight destroying your LES , which we highly recommend you read if you have a BMI greater than 24.
This excess weight does two things that will increase your GERD symptoms. First, it distends the stomach, pulling down on the LES and stretching it out. Over a long-term, this will reduce the effectiveness of the LES to act as an effective barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus.
Second, it puts added pressure on the diaphragm, potentially pushing stomach content into the esophagus. Many research studies have proven that a reduction in BMI will reduce GERD symptoms. In an NIH published paper researchers concluded the following:
In summary, our findings suggest that, beyond being overweight or obese, the risk of GERD symptoms rises progressively with increasing BMI, even among normal weight individuals. This appears true for all degrees of symptom severity and duration, as well as for nocturnal symptoms. Notably, weight loss was associated with a decreased risk of symptoms.
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When To Seek Care For Heartburn
Dont ignore heartburn. Stomach acid can damage your esophagus and increase your risk of cancer. Sometimes natural remedies and over-the-counter medications are not enough to reduce your symptoms of heartburn, and prescription medications may be necessary.
- An Everyday Online visit is a convenient option for diagnosis and treatment of heartburn, as well as to help determine if your heartburn symptoms point to acid reflux or GERD .
- Schedule a virtual visit with a general practice doctor if lifestyle changes and medicines are not helping, if you have heartburn three to four times per week, or if you have other symptoms such as food getting stuck in your throat, vomiting or unintentional weight loss.
If you have more severe symptoms, such as chest pain, dark-colored vomit, black stools, persistent vomiting, or feel like you are choking, seek care in the Emergency Room right away.
How To Use Baking Soda For Acid Reflux
Always ask your doctor for instructions if youre unsure about the dosage of baking soda you should use for treating acid reflux symptoms. The amount of baking soda recommended is based on age.
Baking soda is meant to provide short-term relief, and isnt intended as a long-term treatment for acid stomach symptoms.
The recommended dose of sodium bicarbonate powder is:
|must be determined by a doctor|
|Adults and teenagers||1/2 tsp. dissolved in a 4-ounce glass of water, may be repeated in 2 hours|
Remember, too much baking soda can cause acid rebound and make your symptoms worse. Youll also want to make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved in at least 4 ounces of water, and sipped slowly.
Baking soda is intended to be used for immediate relief of heartburn and indigestion, but not for regular use or treatment of GERD. See your doctor if your acid reflux lasts more than 2 weeks. Your doctor may recommend other medications like H2 blockers or PPIs.
Ask your doctor if baking soda is a good alternative treatment for you. Theyll be able to tell you if baking soda will interact with your medications or increase your sodium levels.
See a doctor immediately if you have severe stomach pains after taking your dosage.
Pregnant women and children under the age of 6 should avoid baking soda for acid reflux treatment.
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Get Some Form Of Exercise At Least For Half An Hour In A Day
Exercise is the answer to almost all our ailments. Its no different when it comes to acidity, and we tell you exactly how. Lack of exercise leads to excessive deposition of fats, especially in the abdominal area. Excess abdominal fat pushes stomach acids up into the oesophagus which can further lead to frequent heartburns. Do those crunches and runs regularly to prevent acidity and shed those extra pounds.
Take A Warm Bath Or Apply A Warm Compress
Heat can help ease indigestion by relaxing tension and cramping and alleviating bloating. When youre ready for bed and indigestion strikes, a warm bath will not only help you unwind and get ready for sleep, but it can also provide indigestion relief fast. Thats especially true when you combine it with one of the indigestion treatments mentioned above.
If youre not a fan of baths and its the middle of the night, you can also try applying a warm compress or heating pad to your abdominal area to help soothe cramping and pain.
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What Foods Cause Heartburn
Spicy, acidic foods and carbonated beverages are the usual suspects for heartburn. While the triggers can vary from person to person, the following foods are known to bring on or worsen heartburn:
- Spicy foods with exotic spices or hot chili peppers
- Fried or greasy foods
- Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and grapefruit
- Fatty meats like ham or bacon
- Tomatoes and tomato sauce/ketchup
Use Carom Seeds To Relieve Heartburn
Carom seeds or ajwain as they are known in India is an age-old remedy for heartburn and other gastric problems. It is one of the finest Ayurvedic remedies for heartburn and gas. Carom seeds have anti-acidic properties and thus act as natural antacids. Thymol present in carom seeds act against acidity and gives you relief from heartburn. It also soothes the mucous membrane of your stomach.
Ways to Use Carom Seeds for Heartburn
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Be Careful What You Drink
Alcohol, coffee, and whole milk can all lead to heartburn, as can peppermint tea. Sodas and carbonated drinks may relax the LES and make your stomach acid more acidic, increasing your risk of heartburn. Highly acidic citrus juices such as orange and grapefruit can also cause acid reflux and heartburn in some people.13
Heartburn Relief: Simple Remedies To Put Out The Fire
- The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
- Pay attention to the foods that trigger heartburn for you and eliminate them from your diet.
Heartburn occurs when the muscular valve between your stomach and esophagus loosens or doesnt completely close, allowing stomach acid to escape into your esophagus. You may be very familiar with the symptoms of heartburn that burning sensation just below your breast bone, that can rise up into your chest. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
If you experience occasional heartburn, there are simple things you can do to identify the cause, and ways to prevent the burn.
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What Is The Difference Between Regular Heartburn And Gerd
Everyone has heartburn from time to time. Theres nothing unusual about that. Generally, taking an antacid helps. However, if youre popping Tums more than three times a week, its time to speak to your doctor.
The technical definition of GERD is mild acid reflux that occurs twice a week or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs once a week. When over-the-counter medicines dont make a dent in the horrible heartburn, you likely have GERD.
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When Should I See A Doctor About My Heartburn
For most people, heartburn goes away on its own, or after you make a few changes to your lifestyle. But you should see a doctor if youre getting heartburn symptoms and you or anyone else in your family has had heart disease. If you have pain in your chest with sweating and problems breathing, get medical help urgently.
You should also see your doctor if you have:
- tried things to help your heartburn and it isnt improving
- lost weight without trying, or you feel sick for no reason
- had heartburn for 3 weeks or more
Your pharmacist can also suggest medications to help with your heartburn, called antacids.
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Let Your Stomach Loose
Tight waistbands or belts that dig into your stomach place unnecessary pressure on your abdomen.10 Swallowing an antacid and undoing the button of your pants or taking your belt down a notch or two after eating will provide instant relief. Maintaining a healthy weight is, however, a better long-term solution.
Your Gameplan For Constant Heartburn
If you experience acid reflux often, youll want to work with a provider on a long term strategy. At Parsley Health, members work with a doctor and health coach to tackle ongoing heartburn with a three-step plan that will identify and treat the cause of intra-abdominal pressure and low stomach acid.
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Track The Things That Trigger You
Making sure that you track the causes of your heartburn might be the solution you need to get rid of it altogether. The process will require dedication, energy, and time. However, your discovery will prevent you from relying on medications and other forms of remedy.
Keep a diary that you can use to record the foods you eat. Be aware of how you eat your foods and when you eat. This is because large mouthfuls will interfere with digestion and can result in excess production of acid.
Additionally, specific foods such as spicy foods and citrus foods that are high in acidic content can increase acid reflux. Also, be aware of your activities and the clothes that you wear every day.
Can Drinking Milk Help My Heartburn
You may have heard that drinking a glass of milk can relieve heartburn. While it’s true that milk can temporarily buffer stomach acid, nutrients in milk, particularly fat, may stimulate the stomach to produce more acid.
Even though milk might not be a great heartburn remedy, however, it’s a rich source of bone-building calcium. Try fat-free skim milk and don’t overdo it. Drink no more than 8 ounces of skim milk at a time — as a snack in between meals. Overfilling the stomach may increase heartburn.
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Should You Take A Heartburn Medication
Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are common over-the-counter and prescription medications used for acid reflux and GERD. While they can offer some relief in the short term and have their place in certain doctor-recommended treatments, they can also be problematic. A PPI essentially shuts down stomach acid production, and was originally designed as a prescribed short-term solution in the treatment of gastric ulcers, Stratos points out.
Long-term use of this heartburn medication has been associated with an increased risk of fractures, pneumonia, C. Diff illness, vitamin B12 deficiency, low magnesium levels, chronic kidney disease, and dementia, according to a 2018 review in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Theres also concern that chronic use is linked with type 2 diabetes. And, according to a study in the journal Gut, patients on PPIs are 73% more likely to have a severe case of COVID-19 if infected with the virus compared to COVID patients not taking the meds.
Its worth addressing the root cause of GERD and recurring heartburn rather than just living with it or masking it with medication. Aside from the fact that GERD is extremely uncomfortable and you deserve to feel good after you eat, long-term, it can injure the esophagus and, at worst, increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer, which is estimated to kill more than than 16,000 people this year, according to the National Cancer Institute.