Q:

How can you prevent acid reflux through diet and lifestyle changes?

A:

Quick Answer

To prevent or reduce acid reflux, eat smaller meals at more frequent intervals and reduce consumption of fatty or spicy foods, alcohol, carbonated beverages and foods and beverages containing mint. Losing weight is beneficial when obesity is a contributing factor, and quitting smoking also helps.

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Full Answer

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition in which the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach acids to enter the esophagus. Anything that puts pressure on the stomach can contribute to the problem, which is why sufferers should avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing or belts and avoid eating large meals, especially shortly before bedtime. Waiting several hours after a meal before lying down can reduce nighttime attacks, and some sufferers find that it helps to use a wedge-shaped pillow to raise the head and upper body. Use of relaxation and stress management techniques may also be helpful.

Some medications can cause or contribute to GERD, so if symptoms occur after a change in medication, consult a physician. Because individuals vary in sensitivity to different foods that can trigger GERD, it also helps to keep a diary of food intake and heartburn episodes to discover which foods are the biggest troublemakers.

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