Heartburn relief can be achieved by some simple lifestyle and diet changes. Here are some suggestions for preventing and managing heartburn.
Don't go to bed with a full stomach. Eat meals at least 2 hours to 3 hours before lying down -- this will give food time to digest and empty from your stomach, and acid levels a chance to decrease before you lay down.
Don't overeat. Decrease the size of portions at meal times or try eating 4 to 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones.
Eat slowly. Take time to eat -- don't rush. Try putting your fork down between bites.
Wear loose-fitting clothes.
Avoid heartburn triggers. Stay away from foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn symptoms (for example, onions, peppermint, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee, citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, or high-fat foods). A good way to figure out what foods cause your heartburn symptoms is to keep a food diary.
Stop smoking. Nicotine, one of the main active ingredients in cigarettes, can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach, allowing the acid-containing contents of the stomach to enter the esophagus.
Avoid alcohol. If your aim is to unwind after a stressful day, try exercise, meditation, stretching, or deep breathing instead of drinking alcohol.
Keep a diary or heartburn log. Keep track of when heartburn hits and the specific activities that seem to trigger the incidents.
Barrett's esophagus is a serious complication of GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. In Barrett's esophagus, normal tissue lining the esophagus -- the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach -- changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. About 10% of people with chronic symptoms of GERD develop Barrett's esophagus.
Barrett's esophagus does not have any specific symptoms, although patients with Barrett's esophagus may have symptoms related to...
Raise the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet. You can do this by placing 6-inch blocks under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Don't use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You will only put your head at an angle that can increase pressure on your stomach and make your heartburn worse.
Eat earlier. Try not to eat within 3 hours of going to bed.