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    Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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    You might not need any treatment at all. Indigestion often goes away on its own after a few hours. But let your doctor know if your symptoms get worse.

    Any treatment you get will depend on what’s causing your indigestion. You can also do some things on your own to ease your symptoms:

    • Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while you chew, or eat too fast. This makes you swallow too much air, which can add to indigestion.
    • Drink beverages after rather than during meals.
    • Avoid late-night eating.
    • Try to relax after meals.
    • Avoid spicy foods.
    • If you smoke, quit.
    • Avoid alcohol.

    If you don’t feel better after these changes, your doctor may prescribe medications for you.

    How Can I Prevent Indigestion?

    The best way to avoid getting it is to steer clear of the foods and situations that seem to cause it. You can keep a food diary to figure out what you eat that gives you trouble. Other ways to prevent the problem:

    • Eat small meals so your stomach doesn’t have to work as hard or as long.
    • Eat slowly.
    • Avoid foods with a lot of acid, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
    • Cut back on or avoid foods and drinks that have caffeine.
    • If stress is a trigger, learn new ways to manage it, such as relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
    • If you smoke, quit. Or at least, don’t light up right before or after you eat, since smoking can irritate your stomach.
    • Cut back on alcohol.
    • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. They can put pressure on your stomach, which can make the food you’ve eaten move up into your esophagus.
    • Don't exercise with a full stomach. Do it before a meal or at least 1 hour after you eat.
    • Don't lie down right after you’ve eaten.
    • Wait at least 3 hours after your last meal of the day before you go to bed.

    Raise the top 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 top bedposts. Don't use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You’ll only put your head at an angle that can increase pressure on your stomach and make heartburn worse.

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