What is GERD and how to avoid it

Do you experience frequent heartburns? And not not sure why they are caused and how to prevent them? Heart burns or acid reflux are quite common. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus.

In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus.

The severity of GERD depends on LES dysfunction as well as the type and amount of fluid brought up from the stomach and the neutralizing effect of saliva.

Here are some simple lifestyle changes to prevent GERD symptoms

  • Avoid tight-fighting clothes after a meal or tightening trouser belts. It exerts pressure on the intestines
  • Avoid vigorous activity soon after eating
  • Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
  • Avoid being on empty stomach or unhealthy snacking
  • Try to maintain ideal body weight
  • Chew properly and eat slowly
  • Eat in calm and stress free environment
  • Avoid irregular and hurried meals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Chewing gum stimulates production of saliva, providing more bicarbonates and also more swallowing facilitates movement of esophageal contents into the stomach
  • Avoid bending, lying down or performing vigorous exercise immediately after meals
  • Avoid eating very heavy meals
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Stress may make symptoms worse, so forms of relaxation such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation, are worth considering as part of your treatment plan
  • Maintain upright position during and at least 45 minutes after eating each meal to enhance digestion

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Stay healthy with eKincare – your personal health manager!

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Dr. Pooja, Senior Nutritionist @eKincare.com

Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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