Can changes to my lifestyle help control GERD?

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No matter how mild or severe your GERD, lifestyle changes and medications go hand in hand to help you feel better and live life to the fullest. Lifestyle changes can be hard to make at first, since they require that you develop new habits, but your efforts pay off when GERD symptoms improve. Traits and habits that may affect GERD include:

Lifestyle Habit Possible Triggers for GERD Symptoms Possible Reason for Causing GERD Symptoms
A high-fat, spicy diet
  • high-fat or fried foods, including: hot dogs, donuts, French fries, or fatty beef
  • spicy foods such as garlic or onions
  • chocolate or peppermint
  • tomato products, including juice and sauce
  • citrus products, including orange and grapefruit juice
  • caffeinated beverages, such as soda, coffee, and tea
  • alcohol
  • carbonated drinks such as soda and seltzer
  • slows down the ability of your stomach to empty its contents
  • weakens or relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter
  • increases acid in the stomach
  • irritates esophageal tissues
  • increases pressure on the esophagus
  • cigarettes
  • cigars
  • marijuana
  • weakens or relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter
  • may help bile move from the intestine to your stomach, creating a more toxic reflux
  • may decrease your ability to produce enough saliva, needed to neutralize acid in reflux
  • weighing 20% or more above ideal body weight
  • increases the pressure on your esophagus
Taking medications for other conditions
  • antibiotics
  • calcium channel blockers
  • hormones
  • iron salts
  • NSAIDs
  • theophylline
  • tranquilizers
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter
  • injures the esophagus

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