Even a Little Weight Gain – or Loss -- Can Affect Your Heartburn
Even a few extra pounds increases your risk of heartburn. Losing weight can bring fast relief.
Lose Weight, Lose the Heartburn
Another study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,
found that weight loss and elevating the head of the bed are
the most effective lifestyle interventions for reducing heartburn.
Lauren Gerson, MD, MSc, director of the Esophageal and Small Bowel Disorders
Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, and her colleagues, evaluated
16 clinical trials looking at the impact of lifestyle changes on heartburn,
- Losing weight.
- Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger heartburn.
- Changing sleeping position.
- Avoiding late-night eating.
- Avoiding cigarettes.
"The only thing that matters is losing weight and elevating the head of
the bed," she says. While changing the other habits might improve the acid
levels in the esophagus, there was not enough evidence that changing them also
Gerson set out to do the study after patients referred to her complained
that despite following a bland diet their heartburn symptoms didn't improve.
"People were very annoyed that their diets were so limited and their
heartburn [was] no better."
If certain spicy foods or some beverages are known to trigger your
heartburn, of course, it's wise to avoid them, she tells patients. But for
those whose heartburn gets no better with a bland diet, she has a simple
- Lose weight.
- Elevate the head of the bed.
"Being overweight is an independent risk factor for heartburn,"
Gerson says. So if your heartburn isn't improving despite several lifestyle
changes, maybe it's time to talk with your doctor about a sensible weight loss
and exercise plan to get you below a BMI of 25.