Before seeking surgical options, adjusting lifestyle changes may alleviate and control GERD symptoms.
Avoid trigger foods:
- Peppermint, chocolate
- Acidic, fatty or spicy foods
- Excessive NSAID use
Many people will already know their trigger foods. Trigger foods and their severity can vary between individuals. In general, trigger foods worsen reflux by causing relaxation of the muscles around the lower esophageal sphincter or increasing acid production in the stomach. Additionally, fatty foods can delay gastric emptying, which increases pressure in the stomach, causes the stomach to expand and weakens the lower esophageal sphincter.
Avoid excess pressure in the stomach:
- Lose weight
- Avoid eating three hours before bedtime
- Elevate the head of your bed
- Eat smaller meals
Increasing intra-abdominal pressure pushes food back up into the esophagus. Sometimes losing just 10 or 15 pounds can be enough to prevent stomach contents from pushing back up into the esophagus. Elevating the head of your bed can help gravity to work in your favor. Finally, eating smaller meals and not eating before lying down can decrease stomach distension and pressure, which can prevent reflux.