Self-Care at Home
Many people can relieve their symptoms by changing their habits and lifestyle. The following steps, if followed, may reduce your reflux significantly.
- Don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime. This allows your stomach to empty and acid production to decrease. If you don’t eat, your body isn’t making acid to digest the food.
- Similarly, don’t lie down right after eating at any time of day.
- Elevate the head of your bed 6 inches with blocks. Gravity helps prevent reflux.
- Don’t eat large meals. Eating a lot of food at one time increases the amount of acid needed to digest it. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
- Avoid fatty or greasy foods, chocolate, caffeine, mints or mint-flavoured foods, spicy foods, citrus, and tomato-based foods. These foods decrease the competence of the LES.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases the likelihood that acid from your stomach will back up.
- Stop smoking. Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter and increases reflux.
- Lose excess weight. Overweight and obese people are much more likely to have bothersome reflux than people of healthy weight.
- Stand upright or sit up straight, maintain good posture. This helps food and acid pass through the stomach instead of backing up into the esophagus.
- Talk to your health care provider about taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen or medicines for osteoporosis. These can aggravate reflux in some people.