Skip to content

    Heartburn/GERD Health Center

    Step 1 of 6
    Action Set
    GERD: Controlling Heartburn by Changing Your Habits

    Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be painful and, if allowed to continue, can lead to complications including esophagitis. Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus.

    You can make changes to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms of GERD. Here are some things to try:

    • Change your eating habits.
      • It's best to eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals.
      • After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren't a good idea.
      • Chocolate, mint, and alcohol can make GERD worse. They relax the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
      • Spicy foods, foods that have a lot of acid (like tomatoes and oranges), and coffee can make GERD symptoms worse in some people. If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get better.
    • Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
    • If you have GERD symptoms at night, raise the head of your bed 6 in. (15 cm) to 8 in. (20 cm) by putting the frame on blocks or placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress. (Adding extra pillows does not work.)
    • Avoid or reduce pressure on your stomach. Don't wear tight clothing around your middle.
    • Lose weight if you need to. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help.

    how.gif  How can you modify your lifestyle to relieve symptoms of GERD?

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology

    Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    Woman eating pizza
    How it starts, and how to stop it.
    man with indigestion
    Get lifestyle and diet tips.
     
    woman shopping for heartburn relief
    Medication options.
    man with heartburn
    Symptoms of both.
     
    digestive health
    Slideshow
    Heartburn or Heart Attack
    Article
     
    heartburn
    Article
    stomach acid rising
    Article
     
    Woman eating pizza
    Slideshow
    digestive myths
    Slideshow
     
    Extreme Eats
    Slideshow
    Bowl of pasta and peppers
    Slideshow