GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can make it difficult to sleep and live comfortably. The feeling of acid rising into your esophagus can make it feel like your chest is burning, and it can also lead to symptoms like frequent burping. If you think you have GERD, it is a good idea to go to your doctor. They can properly diagnose you and recommend a treatment that will minimize your symptoms. Often, the first recommendation they may make is for you to make some lifestyle changes, such as the following:
Sleep with your head elevated.
If you currently sleep with your head flat, or with a relatively flat pillow, then your doctor may recommend adding a pillow or two to your setup. A wedge pillow that puts you into a position that's halfway between sitting and laying down may be even better. With your head elevated in this way, the acid will not be able to flow as far up in your esophagus. It may not even come up into your esophagus at all. As a result, you will experience fewer GERD symptoms, particularly at night.
Eat fewer foods that are high in acid.
If you eat a lot of acidic foods, then your stomach contents will be even more acidic. This can make GERD symptoms worse. So, if you have GERD, your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid high-acid foods. Examples include citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, tomato sauce, and vinegar-based sauces.
Practice meditation or other stress-reducing protocols.
Stress can make GERD worse. It causes your muscles to tense up, and your esophageal sphincter is one of those muscles. Try taking steps to reduce your stress levels or keep your stress under better control. Meditate once a day, or engage in another activity you find relaxing. Your esophageal sphincter may relax and close more completely, which will help stop stomach contents from coming up into your esophagus.
If you are overweight, then losing weight can help treat GERD. When you lose weight, there will be less body tissue pressing on the esophageal sphincter, so it should be able to close more completely. If you struggle with weight loss, consider attending a medical weight loss clinic where they guide you towards a better diet and exercise routine.
If your doctor diagnoses you with GERD, they will likely recommend some or all of these lifestyle changes as early-stage treatment.
Contact a professional for GERD treatment today.