How do I prevent and manage my heartburn?
can prevent and manage your heartburn by making changes in your diet and lifestyle.
The first things to try are the following:
- Don’t go to bed with a full stomach. Eat meals at least three to four hours before you lie down. This gives the stomach a chance to empty and reduces the chance of heartburn.
- Don’t overeat. Decrease the size of portions at meal times, or eat four to five small meals instead of three large ones.
- Eat slowly. Remember to put your fork down between bites.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
You may want to try other approaches, in which you:
- Avoid the foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn symptoms. Write down the foods that seem to cause your discomfort in a heartburn diary.
- Shed some pounds to relieve your symptoms. If you are overweight, follow a healthy weight loss plan.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (or LES). This muscle controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach. The LES prevents the acid-containing contents of the stomach from entering the esophagus.
- Avoid alcohol. Instead of drinking, try exercise, walking, meditation, stretching, or deep breathing to relieve stress.
- Drink warm liquids, such as herbal tea.
- Keep track of when heartburn hits and the specific activities that seem to trigger the incidents.
How you can ease heartburn and acid reflux yourself
Simple lifestyle changes can help stop or reduce heartburn.
- eat smaller, more frequent meals
- raise one end of your bed 10 to 20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress – make it so your chest and head are above the level of your waist, so stomach acid doesn’t travel up towards your throat
- try to lose weight if you’re overweight
- try to find ways to relax
- do not have food or drink that triggers your symptoms
- do not eat within 3 or 4 hours before bed
- do not wear clothes that are tight around your waist
- do not smoke
- do not drink too much alcohol
- do not stop taking any prescribed medicine without speaking to a doctor first
National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Definition and facts for gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Accessed 5/4/2015.
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. About GERD Accessed 5/4/2015.