Lifestyle Modifications

Though scientific evidence is considerably lacking, lifestyle modifications are usually the appropriate first step in the treatment array.  For mild GERD with infrequent symptoms, simple dietary and lifestyle changes may offer symptom relief.

Watch your diet: avoid foods that can trigger symptoms, such as coffee, tea or carbonated beverages; fatty or spicy foods; and citrus fruits, tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppermint or chololate.  Eat small, frequent meals. A larger meal takes longer to empty from your stomach.

Lose weight: excess weight can distort normal anatomy and cause reflux.

Do not recline within 3 hours after eating.

Raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches: Doing so can reduce nighttime reflux episodes.

Stop smoking: studies show that nicotine weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that controls the valve at the lower end of the esophagus.

Avoid alcohol:   Alcohol , especially white wine and beer, has been shown to induce reflux.

Reduce pressure on the stomach:  Too much pressure can squeeze the stomach and increase symptoms.  Maintain proper body weight and wear loose-fitting clothes.