Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic disorder that affects your esophagus. Also known as acid reflux, GERD happens when stomach acids or bile back up into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). These acids irritate the lining of your esophagus, creating a burning feeling in your chest referred to as heartburn. GERD occurs frequently and may lead to severe complications if left untreated. Many people overcome the disorder without medication or surgery simply by changing their lifestyles. If you have GERD, you can quickly relieve the symptoms at home. However, more severe forms of the disease may need treatment from a Frisco GERD specialist. Here is how you can manage mild forms of GERD at home.
Watch What You Eat
Avoiding certain foods can significantly improve your symptoms. While everyone is different, there are some common GERD triggers that you should avoid if possible. Try to reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, peppermint, tomato products, and citrus fruits from your diet. If the thought of giving up these delicious yet problematic items seems too tricky, try limiting them until your GERD is under control. These foods are only infrequently linked to GERD, and even then, they typically don’t cause problems for most people.
Eat Small Portions
Eating several small portions throughout the day, rather than a few large meals, can prevent GERD symptoms from occurring after you eat. It takes your stomach longer to empty when you eat little amounts at a time. Thoroughly chewing each bite will also reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and help to prevent symptoms.
Do Not Lie Down Right After Eating
Avoid laying down for two to three hours after eating, allowing acid and food particles to enter your esophagus. Instead, try taking a walk or doing another activity that doesn’t involve sitting or laying down. If you absolutely must lie down right after your meal, make sure to raise the head of your bed by six inches.
Try sleeping on your left side instead if you typically sleep on your stomach. This position is the least likely to cause reflux symptoms because it decreases pressure on your abdomen and esophagus. If you usually sleep on your back, try sleeping with a pillow under your head and knees to prop up your upper body. You can also try lying on your right side, as this position tends to put less pressure on the stomach.
Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function correctly. This can worsen GERD symptoms and increase your risk of developing more severe complications. If you are a smoker, ask your doctor about methods to quit or cut back so that you can improve your GERD.
In summary, GERD is a chronic disorder that affects your esophagus. Also known as acid reflux, GERD happens when stomach acids or bile back up into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). These acids irritate the lining of your esophagus, creating a burning sensation in your chest referred to as heartburn. If you have GERD, you can quickly relieve symptoms at home. However, more severe forms of the disease may need treatment from a gastroenterologist.