Lifestyle factors that can help prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition in which the reflux of stomach contents into the oesophagus causes problematic symptoms. GERD is a chronic version of acid reflux. This happens when the stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the oesophagus. It irritates the lining of the oesophagus and can induce affliction.

GERD is the most common but non-life-threatening disease. But sometimes it leads to a few complications like narrowing of the oesophagus, oesophageal ulcer, and Barrett’s oesophagus. But a few lifestyle changes may help prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease. There has been improved interest in making use of lifestyle changing measures to manage the condition.

Here are some  lifestyle changes to prevent GERD

  • Diet Changes

The first step to be followed is to keep an eye on your diet. We often lose control of ourselves and eat unhealthy food which leads to health problems. It is essential to eat healthy food in a proper portion.

  • To reduce GERD, one should limit foods that set off reflux. Also, these food items differ from one person to other. But here are  GERD foods to avoid -chocolate, coffee, fried foods, peppermint, spicy foods, and carbonated beverages.
  • Eating in smaller portions helps a lot. This is the best way to deal with GERD. Break your meals into smaller portions. Instead of having two large meals, make them into four small meals. Breaking your meals helps in the digestion process and also puts less pressure on Lower Oesophageal Sphincter.
  • Try to eat your food slowly. Chewing properly helps indigestion. Take your time while eating and put your fork down between bites.
  • After a meal or after having carbonated drinks, don’t lie down immediately. Lying down soon after a meal will cause the stomach acid to rise and cause discomfort. Wait for at least 2-3 hours before lying down after a meal.
  • Quit Smoking/ Drinking

Cigarettes have nicotine which weakens a part of the body known as the Lower Oesophageal sphincter. This part of the muscle controls the opening between the oesophagus and stomach. When it's closed, it keeps acid and other things in your stomach from going back up. So if you are diagnosed with GERD, then you should immediately quit smoking. Also, avoid alcohol as it also leads to GERD. Heavy drinking & smoking in any case is bad for your health overall.

  • Lose Weight

Excess weight creates a lot of health issues, so doctors usually advise people to lose weight if they are overweight. Excess weight can lead to the cause of GERD. Try to reduce the excess weight around the midsection. This can ease pressure on the stomach. Otherwise, such pressure can force some stomach contents back up the oesophagus.

Workout regularly and have a calorie deficit diet. Walking, meditation, stretching, and yoga help to control GERD. Try doing any sort of physical exercise every day, at least for half an hour.

These lifestyle changes are a definitive hack that will help you in preventing GERD. However, in severe cases immediate medical and professional Gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment  is necessary.

Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran