According to a study, 1 in 10 Americans gets heartburn daily. There is no scarcity of drugs in the market targeting symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), but they come with dangerous side effects. Lifestyle and diet changes can have a better impact than taking medications, as they provide a long term healing effect. In order to control and minimize the symptoms of GERD, here are a few things to take care of:
Obesity is directly linked to GERD condition in most of the sufferers. Being obese or overweight increases the chances of developing GERD symptoms, and the risk keeps increasing with the increasing BMI (body mass index). Losing weight can help you in boosting pH profile and combating GERD symptoms.
Consumption of alcohol beyond a certain intake level can be damaging in all aspects. Even drinking moderate amounts can induce reflux symptoms. It also hampers the pH level of the esophagus. If you are a regular drinker, make sure you are not overdoing it, particularly if you are diagnosed with GERD.
GERD symptoms are quite commonly found in longtime smokers, probably due to the reason that smoking can extend acid clearance and reduce pressure in the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). Both LES and GERD are closely linked to each other. If you find it difficult to quit, try limiting the damage by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke every day. It goes a long way in improving your overall health.
Experts advise on eating smaller portion of meals spread evenly throughout the day, than having a large volume of food at once. Large meals are known to increase acid exposure, and the probability of stomach contents splashing or pushing up against the LES.
GERD Activator Foods
There are plenty of foods that trigger a condition like GERD. Some of these include fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, carbonated drinks, juices, spicy foods, garlic and raw onions. Avoiding these activator foods can help in managing your symptoms by preventing LES pressure reduction, decreasing the number of episodes and reducing acid exposure time.
Eating On Time
Poor eating and lifestyle habits can be a major cause behind GERD symptoms. Some people skip their breakfast, only to have a late afternoon snack, while others have their dinner right before going to bed. This can trigger certain gastric ailments by increasing nocturnal gastric acidity. Try to have your dinner early; at least 2-hours before going to bed. Keep your head a little elevated while sleeping, as it helps in faster acid clearing and shorter reflux episodes.
Prebiotics And Probiotics
Patients suffering from GERD have shown significant differences in the bacteria populating the esophagus. These differences make the individual more likely to suffer from an inflamed esophagus. The studies are not clear regarding the fact whether these changes are a part of response to the bacterial makeup or is it really the cause behind GERD. However, innovative treatment procedures such as probiotics are being explored to boost the population of beneficial bacteria in the esophagus.