Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition in which stomach contents back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn, belching, and bloating, and worsening of the condition may lead to severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. While medication is the most effective form of GERD treatment, lifestyle and dietary changes can decrease acid reflux instances.
Avoid trigger foods: It is important to identify and avoid certain foods and beverages that can trigger acid reflux episodes. Keeping a food journal can also help recognize problem foods in GERD. As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), common trigger foods for GERD include:
Eat smaller portions daily, and avoid certain activities before and after eating: Eating smaller meals puts less pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which can prevent the backflow of stomach acids. For instance, if a person consumes 3 meals in a day and gets heartburn, belching, or bloating, trying to eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day can facilitate digestion. Laying down immediately after eating can trigger acid reflux. It is vital to avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime and maintain an upright posture for at least 2 hours following a meal can help prevent heartburn. Avoiding physical activity or exercise before and after eating is also helpful.
Weight management: While occasional heartburn can occur to anyone, overweight or obese individuals are prone to GERD. Excessive fat deposition, especially in the abdominal area forces stomach juices to go up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux and heartburn. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise can cure acid reflux.
Quit smoking: Smoking damages the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which keeps stomach acid from entering the esophagus and in turn makes heartburn episodes more likely. Quitting smoking can limit the severity and frequency of acid reflux and, in some cases, even completely eliminate it.
Avoid tight clothing: Wearing tight-fitting clothing or belts can increase acid reflux episodes. If a person notices regular heartburn or bloating symptoms, trying looser clothing may help improve the condition.
Adjust sleep position: Head of bed elevation (sleeping on an inclination) makes the acid in the esophagus return to the stomach faster and relieves GERD symptoms. Additionally, sleeping on the left side is thought to facilitate digestion and may work to reduce acid reflux.
Reduce stress: Excessive stress can increase stomach acid production and move into the esophagus resulting in GERD. Taking steps to reduce stress may aid to prevent or alleviate acid reflux and heartburn symptoms. Home remedies can help reduce the mild or occasional heartburn episodes, but for chronic or severe GERD cases, consulting a gastroenterologist for an appropriate medical treatment plan is needed. Keywords: Home remedies, GERD, digestion, heartburn, belching, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, lifestyle, acid reflux, diet, food, meal, physical activity, exercise, weight, smoking, clothing, sleeping, stress, treatment.