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Life style modifications for GERD 

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GERD can be managed as well as avoided through effective life style modifications. The life style modifications required are in regards to eating habits, personal habits as well as sleeping habits.

Eating Habits:

  • Avoid food items that can aggravate GERD symptoms like citrus fruits, chocolate, fried and fatty foods, spearmint, peppermint, tomato, garlic and onions. Also avoid spicy and acidic foods.
  • Avoid caffeine and or caffeine-containing beverages as they cause acid reflux in susceptible individuals. They also worsen symptoms in patients with GERD.
  • One should try and eat small and frequent meals. Large meals tend to increase acid reflux. Small and frequent meals prevent acid regurgitation.

Personal Habits:

  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes which tend to constrict the body. This in turn leads to the constriction of the abdomen and chest. The constriction of the stomach increases the chances of gastric content reflux into the esophagus.
  • Avoid cigarettes (or any other form of nicotine) as smoking inhibits saliva production. Saliva is a natural defense of our body against reflux.
  • Avoid alcohol as alcohol increases acidity.
  • Lose weight if obese. Obesity is instrumental in increasing the abdominal pressure. This in turn pushes the contents of the stomach into the esophagus.
  • Avoid exercising, straining, or bending specially after meals.

Sleeping Habits:

  • Avoid lying down for 3 hours after eating. Lying down immediately after eating prevents the food from getting emptied into the stomach. The food in turn goes up to the esophagus.
  • Try eating 2 to 3 hours before sleeping. This gives the food ample time to pass into the small intestines.
  • Elevate the head of the bed 6 to 8 inches.


Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 27, 2012

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