Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Acid Reflux

You watch with envy as your friends or family savor a delicious meal while you cautiously pick at your plate, wondering whether one bite now will mean a world of discomfort later thanks to acid reflux. You're not alone — one in five Americans has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

While the experienced surgical team at Rockwall Surgical Specialists offers reflux surgery for patients with severe and chronic GERD, the steps you take on your own can also go a long way toward keeping you comfortable. And you may be able to avoid surgery if you keep acid indigestion at bay.

Thankfully, there are some great rules of thumb when it comes to managing acid reflux. These lifestyle changes can take the teeth out of acid reflux.

What and how you eat matters

One of the more obvious triggers for acid reflux is the food you eat. You’d do well to avoid common triggers of stomach acids, such as:

There may be other foods that trigger your acid reflux that are unique to you. Familiarize yourself with your own triggers by keeping a food diary.

While the emphasis for controlling acid reflux is usually on foods that you should avoid, we want to cover a few that are generally better for acid reflux sufferers, such as:

As well, how you eat matters. We recommend that you thoroughly chew before swallowing, which saves your stomach from having to produce more acids to break down the food.

Lose weight

One of the biggest risk factors for acid reflux is carrying extra weight, which puts pressure on your abdomen and causes acids to rise into your esophagus. Losing weight not only helps with GERD, but it improves almost every other area of your health, too.

Stay active after you eat

Another great trick for avoiding acid reflux is to remain upright and active after you eat, which helps the acids from rising up. The rule of thumb here is to wait at least three hours before lying down after you eat.

Sleep with your upper body elevated

If your acid reflux flares at night, prop yourself up when you sleep. For this to work well, you can’t just raise your head — you need for the entire upper half of your body to be elevated about 6-9 inches. You can accomplish this using a large wedge pillow or raising the top end of your bed slightly.

Quit smoking

There are any number of reasons why you shouldn’t smoke, and acid reflux is yet another. Smoking can weaken the sphincter in your lower esophagus, leading to ongoing problems with GERD.

Loosen up

We suggest that you avoid tight-fitting clothes that constrict your abdomen. Instead, wear clothes that allow your abdomen to remain in a natural position, which takes the pressure off of your stomach and esophagus.

If you have more questions about managing your acid reflux or GERD, or if you can’t find any relief with these lifestyle changes and think you may need surgery, please contact one of our offices in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, and Forney, Texas.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Do Gallstones Feel Like?

Nearly 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with gallstones each year, and about one-quarter of these cases require treatment thanks to debilitating symptoms, which we cover here.

Weight Loss Surgery: Why Emotional Support Matters

There’s little doubt that weight loss surgery can be life-altering — physically, mentally, and emotionally. While the surgery may take only hours, you still have a long road ahead of you, and you need all the support you can get.

Do Hernias Ever Heal on Their Own?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a hernia, your first question is bound to be about treatment options. **Spoiler alert: Most hernias don’t go away on their own. Here’s what you should know.

What to Expect After Gallbladder Surgery

Each year in the United States, 1 million people have their gallbladders removed. If you’re about to join this growing number, here’s a look at what you can expect after gallbladder surgery.

5 Signs of Thyroid Disease

Your thyroid is one of those organs you give little thought to — until something goes wrong. Here’s a look at five of the more common signs that you may have thyroid disease and when you should seek help.

Don't Put Off Your Colonoscopy

Yes, the thought of a colonoscopy may be off-putting, but there are two important things you should consider. First, this simple procedure can save your life. Second, it’s really not as bad as you think.