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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Home Treatment

If you have symptoms of mild gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), there are things you can do at home to feel better.

Here are some lifestyle changes to try:

  • Change your eating habits.
    • It’s best to eat several small meals instead of 2 or 3 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.
  • Don't 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 doesn't 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.

For more information, see:

GERD: Controlling Heartburn by Changing Your Habits.

Along with lifestyle changes, you may need nonprescription medicines to control occasional heartburn. For more information, see Medications.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 11, 2011
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.

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