Do not rely on drugs for GERD treatment; the GERD medications only temporarily mask the symptoms. For long-term relief, you must modify lifestyle.
Lifestyle modification for heartburn
Do not rely on drugs; GERD medications only temporarily mask the symptoms. For long-term relief, you must adopt to GERD lifestyle modification.
Adopt to the below behavior change to reduce acid reflux:
1. Chew food well: Digestion begins in the mouth, both mechanical and enzymatic digestion of food specifically carbs. Do not swallow the food instead chew well and drink the food by making it well mixed with the saliva with enzymes to break down carbs.
2. Sit straight: You are sitting posture during and after eating, is very important for proper digestion. Slouching and folding the abdomen put more pressure on the stomach and LES, thus affecting digestion as well as induce acid reflux.
3. Raise upper part on the bed: that is upper chest is higher than abdomen. Acid reflux is severe mostly during sleep. Woken up in the middle of the night by sudden attack of acid reflux is extremely distressing, because the pain make you to think having a heart attack.
4. Do not drink water with meals: to minimize pressure on LES by lowering the stomach volume by only sipping water or liquid with meals. Additionally, alternative medicine insist taking large quantity of liquid along with meals will dilute stomach acid and other secretions. Take beverages, preferably warm water and herbal teas about half an hour before or one hour after eating.
5. Take walk after eating: Walking after food is recommend by both modern and traditional medicinal system. A gentle walk stimulates the digestive organs and peristalsis movement, thus improves digestion and reduce chances of acid reflux. Taking a leisurely stroll after dinner has an excellent support for healthy digestion.
6. Manage stress: Study shows stress can direct impact on digestion system and prolong stress leads to digestive problems. If you are experiencing stress, you will probably have more acid reflux. It is important to start relaxation techniques into your daily routine; this may include yoga, meditation, etc.
7. Quit smoking and cut down alcohol: Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can cause GERD by weakening the LES and increases the chances of acid reflux. You can lower acid reflux attack by quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake.
8. Exercise moderately: Exercise is beneficial for everyone and for every part, including digestion system. However, too much of exercise may increase chances of acid reflux that does not means people with acid reflux should not do exercise, instead do it in moderation actually beneficial. The real secret to eternal youth is remain active. Thirty minutes of exercise five days a week is enough.
9. Do not eat before bedtime: This is the golden rule for people with acid reflux; never eat anything for three hours before bedtime. Even eating within three hours for a single day severely make the condition worst.
10. Do not bend after food: Bend over after eating puts more pressure on stomach as well as gravity invites acid reflux and heartburn.
11. Eat less for dinner: Most of the acid reflux attack happen in the night, thus it is advisable to eat less for dinner, specifically cut down carbs and high fat foods. Have your major food for lunch.
12. Anything that puts pressure on the stomach such as lifting heavy weights, coughing, sneezing, tight clothing, obesity, and pregnancy will force stomach acid content back into the esophagus causing heartburn. Stop lifting heavy weights, treat coughing/sneezing properly, use loose fitted clothing, loss weight, and be more careful during pregnancy.
There are multitudes of recommendations for GERD therapy by lifestyle modifications, they are:
- Certain drugs may relax LES cause GERD: Medication to treat certain conditions relax LES and thus may induce acid reflux and cause GERD.
- Adopting to certain behaviors that may reduce esophageal acid attack; GERD lifestyle modification help fasten the healing.
- Foods for GERD: certain food aggravates GERD, avoid them and certain foods support GERD, include them in moderation.
- Many patient with GERD are due to small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO); producing more gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane from undigested foods.
- Probiotic drinks and foods can help support digestion as well as establish beneficial bacteria population in the gut. Add fermented foods such as butter milk, kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Pickles, Miso, Tempeh, Natto, Kimchi, etc.
- Many digestion problems leads to nutrient deficiency; taking supplements for nutrient deficiency to heal GERD.
Change the medication that may induce acid reflux
Certain medication can relax lower esophageal sphincter (LES), they include medication used for the treatment of
- Asthma (theophylline or albuterol),
- Blood pressure or heart (calcium channel blockers & nitroglycerin),
- Muscle relaxation,
- Overactive bladder,
- Depression and
- Allergy (antihistamines).
If you are on any these medications, then consult your doctor and change it if required.