Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid used for digestion repeatedly backs up, or refluxes, into the esophagus. GERD is also known as acid reflux disease. Heartburn, often described as pain or burning in the chest, is a common symptom of GERD. Other symptoms include sour taste in the mouth, burning in the throat, and burping.
The following tips can help to relieve your symptoms of GERD :
- Eat 4-6 smaller meals each day, rather than 3 large meals.
- Eat slowly and chew food well.
- Wait at least 2-3 hours after eating before laying flat or going to bed.
- The following foods may worsen your symptoms. Avoid these foods if they bother you : Black or red pepper, High-fat or fried foods, Coffee (regular or decaffeinated) Black tea (regular or decaffeinated), Alcohol, Chocolate, Peppermint or spearmint (e.g. tea, gum, or candy), Caffeinated beverages & Carbonated beverages.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches if you have nighttime reflux. Use a wedge under the mattress or blocks of wood under the legs of the head of the bed.Extra pillows are not helpful, and may worsen reflux.
- Chew gum or use oral lozenges to increase saliva and help clear acid from your throat.
- Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- Limit or reduce stress in your life. Try yoga, listening to music,exercise and sports, or any other activity that you find relaxing.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. With continued exposure to stomach acid, the esophagus may become irritated and possibly even damaged, a condition known as erosive esophagitis.