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Heartburn / GERD
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Heartburn / GERD

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DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Diseases & Conditions  

Prevention

You may eliminate or reduce the frequency of heartburn by making the following lifestyle changes:

  • Control your weight. Being overweight is one of the strongest risk factors for heartburn. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Three smaller meals a day, with small snacks in between, will help you stop overeating. Continual overeating leads to excess weight, which aggravates heartburn.

  • Loosen your belt. Clothes that fit tightly around your waist put pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.

  • Eliminate heartburn triggers. Everyone has specific triggers. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, garlic, onion, caffeine and nicotine may make heartburn worse.

  • Avoid stooping or bending. Tying your shoes is OK. Bending over for longer periods to weed your garden isn't, especially soon after eating.

  • Don't lie down after a meal. Wait at least three to four hours after eating before going to bed, and don't lie down right after eating.

  • Raise the head of your bed. An elevation of about 6 inches puts gravity to work for you. You can do this by placing wooden or cement blocks under the feet at the head of your bed. If it's not possible to elevate your bed, you can insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Wedges are available at drugstores and medical supply stores. Raising your head only by using pillows is not a good alternative.

  • Don't smoke. Smoking may increase stomach acid. The swallowing of air during smoking may also aggravate belching and acid reflux. In addition, smoking and alcohol increase your risk of esophageal cancer.

Complementary and alternative medicine

Several home remedies exist for treating heartburn, but they provide only temporary relief. They include drinking baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) added to water or drinking other fluids such as soda pop or milk.

Although these liquids create temporary relief by neutralizing, washing away or buffering acids, eventually they aggravate the situation by adding gas and fluid to your stomach, increasing pressure and causing more acid reflux. Further, adding more sodium to your diet may increase your blood pressure and add stress to your heart, and excessive bicarbonate ingestion can alter the acid-base balance in your body.

Heartburn/GERD > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/15/08 12:52 AM