5 Tips To Prevent GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is estimated to affect around 1 in 5 adults in the United States. The condition can lead to burning pain in the chest due to stomach acid flowing upward and irritating the esophagus.

There are a number of easy lifestyle changes that can relieve heartburn symptoms and reduce your risk of developing GERD:

1. Lose excess weight

Obesity is the leading cause of GERD, according to Michael Vaezi, of Vanderbilt University. Speaking to Everyday Health, he explained how the extra body fat can place pressure on the abdomen, which pushes food and acid upwards.

"Lose weight if you're overweight, and don't gain weight if you're not," he stated. If you are overweight, speak to a doctor who will provide a weight loss plan to shed pounds in the safest way possible.

2. Eliminate trigger foods

One should make sure to avoid spicy, fried, and acidic foods, as they are known to trigger heartburn. On the beverage side, caffeinated and carbonated drinks also fall into the category.

Produce like citrus fruits, garlic, and onions are also potential triggers. One tip is to chew gum after any meal that may have included trigger foods — this will produce more saliva which helps neutralize the acid.

3. Elevate your bed

"Make sure to stop eating at least 60 minutes prior to bed, and if that doesn’t work, consider propping your head up with excess pillows so the acid drains back into your stomach," Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritionist, told Bustle.

Make sure your body is not bent too much that it actually ends up adding pressure to your stomach. Another strategy to raise the head of your bed by six to eight inches by placing a secure and sturdy block of wood under the top legs.

4. Stop smoking

There are several reasons why smoking effectively increases your risk of facing GERD symptoms — it reduces the production of saliva, weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, and may induce movement of bile salts from your intestine to the stomach, according to Very Well Health.

Meanwhile, you should also limit alcohol as it can increase the amount of stomach acid produced. Consider alternating with non-alcoholic beverages, opting for white wine over red wine, diluting your drinks, etc.

5. Avoid tight clothing

Wearing a tight pair of pants may be doing more damage than you would expect. Any kind of pressure around your abdomen can push your stomach acid up into the esophagus.

Make sure you are wearing the right size and try to wear looser clothing as much as possible. Pay attention to your belt or waistband as wearing them too tight can also result in similar symptoms.