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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD); Lifestyle Tips.

* Quit smoking.

Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter muscle function and increases acid secretion.

* Lose excess weight.

Increased weight puts extra pressure on your abdomen and stomach and may contribute to GERD symptoms.

* Avoid lying down right after a meal.

That nap after a large meal is the last thing you want to do in order to avoid heartburn. Sitting upright, standing, or walking allows gravity to work for you, keeping gastric acids from washing back up into your esophagus.

* Decrease the size of portions at meals.

Large meals cause a stretching of the lower esophageal sphincter making it easier for acid to reflux back up into your esophagus. If necessary, try eating 4 to 5 small meals throughout the day.

* Keep a list of foods that aggravate your heartburn.

Avoid foods and beverages that affect the lower esophageal sphincter or that irritate the esophagus, such as fatty and fried foods, peppermint, chocolate, alchohol, coffee, citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, pepper. Keep a food diary of what and when you eat and if you have any symptoms for seven days. This will help you identify what exacerbates your symptoms.

* No bedtime snacks.

It takes approximately four hours for solid fibrous food (like celery) to completely pass through your stomach and into your intestine. Time your meals and snacks so that your last one is at least four hours before lying down for the night.

* Avoid wearing tight clothing.

Girdles, tight elastic waistbands, snug jeans and too-small belts all increase pressure on your abdomen. Increased pressure increases the chance that acid will reflux back up your esophagus.

* Elevate your upper body at night.

By elevating your upper body by 6-8 inches at night, gravity can work for you to help prevent reflux. This can be accomplished by putting risers, such as bricks or concrete blocks, under the head of your bed or using a wedge pillows. But be careful with pillows since this may end up increasing the pressure on your stomach and making the reflux worse.

* Never ignore chest pain.

Chest pain should never be ignored since it might be a sign of a heart attack. If you experience chest pain, immediately seek medical attention because this may be a life threatening condition.

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Editorial Staff of the National Women's Health Resource Center 2002/12/01 2005/03/16 Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the abnormal backflow of stomach acid up into the esophagus, the long, muscular tube that connects the back of the mouth to the stomach. Acid Laryngitis,acid regurgitation,Barrett's esophagus,Esophageal strictures,Esophagitis,Gastroesophageal reflux disease,GERD,Reflux dyspareunia
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Date:Mar 16, 2005
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