Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn and other symptoms.
Causes: When you eat, food passes from the throat to the stomach through the esophagus. A ring of muscle fibers in the lower esophagus prevents swallowed food from moving back up. These muscle fibers are called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. When this ring of muscle does not close all the way, stomach contents can leak back into the esophagus. This is called reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. Reflux may cause symptoms. Harsh stomach acids can also damage the lining of the esophagus.
The risk factors for reflux include:
Use of alcohol (possibly)
Hiatal hernia (a condition in which part of the stomach moves above the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities)
Self-care instructions: You should treat heartburn because reflux can damage the lining of your esophagus. This can cause serious problems over time. Changing your habits can be helpful in preventing heartburn and other symptoms of GERD. The following tips will help you avoid heartburn and other GERD symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you're still bothered by heartburn after trying these steps. First, avoid foods and drinks that can trigger reflux, such as:
Citrus fruits and juices
Peppermint and spearmint
Spicy or fatty foods, full-fat dairy products
Tomatoes and tomato sauces
Next, try changing your eating habits:
Avoid bending over or exercising just after eating.
Avoid eating within 3 - 4 hours of bedtime. Lying down with a full stomach cause the stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Schedule for consultations/Diagnostic tests: You may not need any tests if your symptoms are mild. If your symptoms are severe or they come back after you have been treated, your doctor may perform a test called an upper endoscopy (EGD)
This is a test to examine the lining of the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach), stomach, and first part of the small intestine.
It is done with a small camera (flexible endoscope) that is inserted down the throat.
You may also need one or more of the following tests:
A test that measures how often stomach acid enters the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach (called the esophagus)
A test to measure the pressure inside the lower part of the esophagus (esophageal manometry)
A positive stool occult blood test may diagnose bleeding that is coming from the irritation in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. ...more
You may have discovered that exercise can reshuffle the contents of your stomach and provoke a reflux revolt. It's tough to find a way to get in exercise without the heartburn, and yet exercise is crucial for your well-being - and, let's say it, your weight.
For heartburn relief and to shed weight, try these ideas for no-heartburn exercise:
Go low - low-impact. Walking is a good option, as are social activities like ballroom dancing. As you lose weight and gain some heartburn relief, you can try higher-impact activities.
Discover deep-breathing exercise.
Time snacks and meals around workouts. Avoid eating within one to two hours before strenuous exercise to let the stomach be empty to prevent reflux.
Pre-hydrate. If you let yourself become thirsty and then suddenly start gulping down a beverage, you can make your GERD worse during and after exercise.
Pretreat reflux. If your GERD symptoms seem to be a significant problem when you are working out, take an antacid or time your heartburn medication so that you can get in a workout while it's working. Talk with your doctor about when and how to take these medications to control acid reflux.
Avoid tight-fitting belts or clothes that are snug around the waist. These items can squeeze the stomach, and may force food to reflux.
Lose weight if you are overweight. Obesity increases pressure in the stomach. This pressure can push the stomach contents into the esophagus. In some cases, GERD symptoms go away after an overweight person loses 10 - 15 pounds.
Sleep with your head raised about 6 inches. Sleeping with the head higher than the stomach helps prevent digested food from backing up into the esophagus. Place books, bricks, or blocks under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use a wedge-shaped pillow under your mattress. Sleeping on extra pillows does NOT work well for relieving heartburn because you can slip off the pillows during the night.
Keep a journal of your diet and symptoms to know your triggers
Eat slowly and have small meals
Stop smoking. Chemicals in cigarette smoke weaken the LES.
Reduce stress. Try yoga, tai chi, or meditation to help relax.
If you still do not have full relief, try over-the-counter medications:
Antacids, like Gelusil, Digene to help neutralize stomach acid.
H2 blockers like Rantac, Ranitidine reduce stomach acid production.
Making Your Own 'Safe' and 'Avoid' List of Foods Once you have been diagnosed with GERD, the first step is to begin making the necessary dietary changes to help reduce symptoms and give your body the best opportunity to heal. When creating a GERD diet for acid reflux, you need to consider what foods cause heartburn or discomfort and which foods bring no painful symptoms at all. By changing the foods that you eat thereby creating a healthy GERD diet you may be able to reduce, or even eliminate, some of the signs of GERD. In fact, when patients are first diagnosed, many doctors will suggest a very strict GERD diet for a short period of time so your body can get the most benefits from medications and improve the healing process.
Foods to Add to Your GERD Diet
1. Pineapple and Papaya.
2. Iodized Salt.
If you are unable to eat salt due to health issues, you should consider
taking an iodine supplement. Low sodium levels have also been connected to acid
reflux, so make sure you have at least a little salt in your GERD diet.
3. Omega fatty acids
What To Avoid On A GERD Diet
1. Spicy Food. 2. Trans Fats and High Fat Foods 3. Very Hot Food and Liquid 4. Mint and Chocolate 5. Alcohol 6. Your Own Trigger Foods
Sample Diet Plan:
-1 Cup (250ml) lukewarm
water with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. Honey.
-5 soaked raisins
low fat Milk (1 cup) or Soy milk
-1 medium Apple OR 1 medium orange
Mid Morning Snack
-1/2 Cup boiled
vegetable bhel, sprinkled with lemon juice ORSemiyanUpama
-1 Cup Coconut
-1 large bowl
ofSalad (carrots, cucumbers,
beets, tomatoes and onions)
(Dressing- mix Olive oil or cream, lemon juice and
milk infused with Turmeric if Diary suits OR 1 Green TeaORGinger Cardomum Concoction
A List of Food Groups and What Is Safe and Best to Avoid- The following lists are comprised of foods that are typically known to be 'safe' or to 'trigger' symptoms. Again, just because something is on the 'avoid' list does not mean that you cannot eat it. Similarly, something appearing on the 'safe' list does not guarantee that it will not cause a problem for you. This is simply provided as a guideline to give you a place to start and to make it easier for you design your own personal GERD diet.
Apples (fresh and dried), apple juice, bananas, pears, peaches, melons, strawberries, grapes
Oranges and orange juice, lemons and lemonade, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, tomato and tomato juice, cranberries and cranberry juice