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Home > Health Library > GERD: Controlling Heartburn by Changing Your Habits
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be painful and, if allowed to continue, can lead to complications including esophagitis. Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus.
You can make changes to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms of GERD. Here are some things to try.
Developing healthier eating habits, losing weight if necessary, and avoiding foods that increase symptoms of GERD may make heartburn less likely to occur. Take your spouse or partner along with you when you go to your doctor to discuss diet habits. It will be easier to make changes in your diet if your family understands what you need to do and why.
Here are some changes you can try.
These may include chocolate, mint, alcohol, pepper, spicy foods, high-fat foods, or drinks with caffeine in them, such as tea, coffee, colas, or energy drinks.
If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating it to see if your symptoms get better.
After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren't a good idea.
Being overweight puts more pressure on your stomach and makes you more likely to have heartburn. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help.
If you notice that your symptoms are worse after you eat a specific food, you may want to stop eating it and see if your symptoms get better.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop. The nicotine from tobacco relaxes the valve between the esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter). This can allow stomach acid and juices, the chemicals that break down food in the stomach, to back up (reflux) into the esophagus, which causes heartburn.
Because the nicotine in tobacco is addicting, stopping the use of tobacco is more difficult than simply changing a habit. Those who successfully quit using tobacco usually use a combination of these strategies.
Here are some things you can try.
Putting pressure on your stomach may push stomach juices into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Here are some things you can try.
Current as of:
June 6, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineArvydas D. Vanagunas MD - Gastroenterology
Current as of: June 6, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas MD - Gastroenterology
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