How to Prevent GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter. If prolonged to these conditions, the esophageal lining will become damaged and other illnesses can form, such as throat cancer. However, GERD can be prevented with changes in lifestyle. These changes include:
- Weight loss. One of the leading causes of GERD is obesity. Excessive stomach fat causes pressure upon the abdomen, which pushes gastric juices into the esophagus.
- A healthy diet. Weight loss goes hand in hand with a great diet. You’ll want to stay away from foods that trigger GERD, such as fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods, mint, chocolate, onions, coffee, caffeinated drinks, and carbonated drinks. A gluten-free diet is great for avoiding GERD. Gluten, found in grains, can cause GERD symptoms to occur.
- Portion control. Large meals not only fill the stomach, but they also apply pressure onto the LES, which makes the chances of reflux and GERD much more likely to occur.
- Waiting to lie down after eating. It is recommended to wait at least three hours after eating before lying down. If you lie down immediately after eating, acid will press against the LES and make its way into the esophagus.
- Resting on an elevated bed. Elevate the head of your bed six to eight inches; this allows gravity to help keep the acid in your stomach. Extra pillows won’t work; you’ll need your entire upper body elevated.
- Quitting cigarettes and alcohol. Nicotine and alcohol relaxes the muscles of the LES, interfering with saliva’s ability to remove acid out of the esophagus. Alcohol also causes muscle spasms.
- Wearing comfortable clothes. Tight clothing and tight belts can constrict the stomach.
- Checking your medication. Some medicine can increase your chances of developing GERD. These include – NSAIDS, calcium channel blockers, asthma medicine (beta agonists), seasonal allergy medicine, bisphosphonates, sedatives, painkillers, antibiotics, potassium, and iron vitamins.