Some people may find symptom relief by making lifestyle modifications. Some helpful tips for improving reflux symptoms include:
- Don't go to bed with a full stomach. Eat meals at least two hours before lying down to give food time to digest. Leaving more time between eating and lying down will allow the level of stomach acids to decrease before putting your body in a position where heartburn is more likely to occur.
- Don't overeat. Eat smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day.
- Eat more slowly.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes. Tight-fitting clothes may restrict the gastrointestinal tract, which can trigger or aggravate reflux symptoms.
- Avoid foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn or other reflux symptoms. Common foods and beverages known to trigger heartburn include onions, peppermint, chocolate, caffeine (such as coffee), citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, alcohol, spicy foods, and foods that are high in fat.
- Lose weight. Studies indicate a correlation between high Body Mass Index (BMI) and GERD. If you are overweight, losing weight may help relieve your symptoms.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine, a primary ingredient in cigarettes, can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (or LES), the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach, allowing stomach acids to rise into the esophagus and cause irritation.
It is best to consult your physician before making any lifestyle modifications.