Did you know about 20% of Americans have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? If you’re among them, you know how the burning and discomfort it causes can impact your life. From ruining your meal to keeping you up at night, GERD is a pain.
Board-certified gastroenterologist John M. Rivas, MD, and the care team at Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, specialize in diagnosing and treating GERD. If you’re one of the millions living with GERD, keep reading to learn our top tips on managing your condition.
1. Rethink meal times
When your stomach is full, more reflux enters your esophagus. To help keep the burn at bay, rethink how you eat. If possible, eat smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of sitting down to a big meal two or three times.
2. Ban bubbly beverages
Carbonated beverages, including sparkling water, beer, and soda, cause you to burp, which sends stomach acid into your esophagus. To manage GERD, ban bubbly beverages.
3. Eliminate trouble foods
Certain foods cause more gastrointestinal distress for some people. Chances are, you already know the foods that trigger GERD symptoms. The most common trouble foods for GERD patients include:
- Onions and garlic
- Spicy foods
- Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces
- Fatty goods
- Coffee and tea
Everyone is different, so keep an eye on how you feel after meals and snacks to determine which foods aren’t helpful in managing your condition.
4. Eat well before bedtime
It takes time for your food to move out of your stomach. Laying down too soon after you eat can trigger GERD symptoms. When possible, aim to eat 2-3 hours before you lie down to watch TV, read, or nap, for example.
5. Exercise earlier in the day
Going for an after-dinner walk around the block is a good thing, aiding the digestive process and helping move food out of your stomach. But working out vigorously after dinner can exacerbate GERD symptoms, especially if your exercise involves bending and lifting.
6. Keep your head up while you sleep
Keeping your head 6-8 inches higher than your feet can help reduce the nighttime symptoms of GERD. You can either raise the head of the bed using risers or try a foam wedge to support your torso and head.
7. Quit smoking
Studies have closely correlated smoking and the development of GERD. What’s more, smoking is linked to the more serious complications of GERD, like throat cancer and Barrett’s esophagus. The good news is that while continuing to smoke if you have GERD makes your symptoms worse, quitting can help you find relief and reduce your risk of complications.
For more help managing GERD, contact the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida at 954-228-5882 or schedule an appointment online now.