5 Lifestyle Changes to Lessen Holiday Heartburn

Retail clinicians are well situated to offer tips to reduce acid reflux symptoms during the holidays.

Retail clinicians are well situated to offer tips to reduce acid reflux symptoms during the holidays.

Acid reflux affects an estimated 45% of the US population, but with theholiday seasonin full swing, heartburn related to eating and drinking is likely to impact an even greater population.

When episodes regularly occur over a 2-week period, the patient is probably experiencinggastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD).

Beyond recommendingOTC options, retail clinicians can advise the following lifestyle changes to patients seeking to reduce their GERD symptoms:

1. Stop Smoking

There are many reasons why smoking is not a great habit for health, and the exacerbation of GERD symptoms is one of them.

Smoking relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and increases acid reflux.

Even worse than smoking cigarettes may be chewing tobacco, which involves a constant release of the stimulant.

2. Avoid Trigger Drinks

Beverages that can bring on orexacerbate heartburnsymptoms include:

  • Coffee or tea (caffeinated and non-caffeinated alike)
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruit juices

3. Avoid Trigger Foods

Diet adjustment is a key strategy in reducing the frequency and severity of heartburn symptoms.

Foods associated with increased symptoms of heartburn include:

  • Spicy foods, such as chili or curry
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes and all tomato products, such as salsa
  • Blueberries
  • Chocolate
  • Mint or peppermint
  • Onions and garlic
  • High-fat foods

4. Lose Weight

Excess abdominal weight places pressure on the stomach, which causes its contents to reflux more easily. Wearing clothing that is too tight can also cause this issue.

Losing weight, however, can reduce this effect and bring relief. Eating more slowly may also help to relieve heartburn symptoms.

Eating smaller meals with smaller portions sizes more often can help reduce heartburn effects that coincide with being full.

5. Lay Flat

Patients should raise the top of their mattress about 6 to 8 inches if they can. Lying flat reduces gravity, thereby allowing the contents of the stomach to flux more easily.

If that’s not an option, patients can be advised to not eat within 3 hours of lying down at bedtime.

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