Lifestyle changes can control the symptoms of GERD and may help prevent possible complications caused by GERD symptoms.
Avoid specific eating and drinking habits.Quit smoking.After eating, wait to lie down.After eating, wait to exercise.Don’t wear tight clothes or belts.Maintain a Healthy WeightElevate your head when sleeping.
To help manage your GERD symptoms, try to avoid eating large meals or eating too fast.
Other ways to manage GERD symptoms include:
Avoiding certain foods such as: High-fat foodsSpicy foodsCitrus fruitsTomato-based productsChocolateMint
Avoiding certain beverages such as: AlcoholCaffeinated drinksCarbonated drinks
Smoking cigarettes weakens the lower esophageal sphincter. Not smoking can help reduce GERD symptoms.
After eating meals, wait at least 2-3 hours before lying down. This may lessen reflux by giving the stomach time to empty.
Exercise or strenuous activity immediately after eating can cause stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. Wait at least 2-3 hours after eating to exercise.
Wearing clothing or belts that are too tight can increase the reflux of stomach acid by increasing abdominal pressure. For the same reason, avoid bending over or straining, especially soon after meals.
If you are overweight, losing weight and bringing your weight within the healthy range can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.
Elevate the head of your bed by placing 4-6 inch blocks under the legs at the head of the bed. This reduces heartburn by allowing gravity to minimize reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus.
Contact your doctor if new symptoms develop or old symptoms persist, worsen, or recur despite changing your lifestyle habits.
Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
website. Available at:
. Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 30, 2013.
Katz PO, Gerson LB, Vela MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Am J Gastroenterol
Last reviewed April 2013 by Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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