This is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness week. There are many ways to ease or cure GERD, from changing medications to avoiding certain foods.
GERD occurs when substances from the stomach move back up into the esophagus. The result can be painful and, overtime, harms the esophagus, according to the US Department of Health. The holidays are especially hard for GERD sufferers; traditional meals tend to be over-filling, spicy and high in fat content, all of which cause trouble. One guaranteed way to control these factors is to host your own holiday event. Or you can bring your own dish to a party. Here are some more ways to prevent reflux this holiday season.
- Get fit. Losing weight takes pressure off the abdomen, which reduces the chances of stomach acids squeezing back up the esophagus. What better way to gather with friends and family than to power-walk, jog or meet at the pool?
- Change your medications. Many pills, from painkillers to potassium supplements, disrupt a sensitive digestion. Your doctor can suggest a substitute to ease your discomfort. Never quit taking a prescribed medication without consulting your doctor first.
- Ditch the vices. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Both prevent the lower esophageal sphincter from doing its job: stopping food from reentering the esophagus.
- Avoid certain foods. Many fatty, spicy or acidic foods are harmful for GERD sufferers. Here is a list of foods to stay away from.
- Eat several hours before bed. Gravity helps move food downward when you stand, whereas lying down may allow stomach contents to travel back the way they came. Also consider sleeping in a reclining chair or using pillows to tilt your torso up. An angle of at least 30 degrees will ensure that food heads in the right direction.
Schedule an appointment at Brandon Regional Hospital's Reflux Center. We provide personalized treatment for your GERD and offer many helpful resources. Contact us today at (813) 655-GERD (4373) or call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-327-2636.