GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a widespread illness that affects at least 15 million Americans, according to The American College of Gastroenterology. Common symptoms of GERD are chronic heartburn or acid reflux, both of which can turn eating into an uncomfortable and even painful nightmare as stomach acid backs up into your esophagus after devouring your favorite meals. Heartburn and acid reflux are often accompanied by burping, chest pain and a sour taste in your mouth. When determining what is exacerbating your GERD symptoms, there are several factors to consider, including diet, exercise and more. Severe forms of GERD often require medications or possibly surgery, but for mild cases, there are several natural treatment methods that may be able to provide some relief.
Examine your diet for common culprits and make healthy changes.
Many foods can aggravate or worsen your symptoms, so it's important to be knowledgeable about offensive foods so you can try your best to avoid or limit them. Here is a list of some common foods that can exacerbate your GERD symptoms, as reported by Dr. Oz:
- Foods that are high-fat, fried, baked or spicy
- Citrus fruits
- Carbonated beverages
On the other hand, certain foods can benefit those struggling with GERD. Here are some common foods that are good to take for preventing symptoms:
- Leafy greens
Exercise regularly and lose weight if necessary.
Excessive belly fat and being overweight in general are risk factors for GERD. With too much fat in your stomach area, it becomes easy for fluids to back up and cause that unpleasant taste in your mouth or that burning in your chest. If you're not already active, regular exercise can contribute to reducing symptoms by helping you to maintain a healthy weight. However, when exercising with GERD it's important to make sure you don't overdo it and only work out moderately in order to avoid making symptoms worse; in particular, running a lot and lifting heavy may aggravate your symptoms. If you are overweight, however, it is still advisable to work out to shed fat—this can greatly improve the severity of your GERD.
Try supplements to relieve mild symptoms.
While severe forms of GERD may require medications and/or surgery, mild forms of GERD may respond to supplements. Magnesium and calcium are two supplements that may be able to provide some relief from symptoms. Magnesium hydroxide works to neutralize stomach acids, which can reduce symptoms of heartburn. According to Leo Galland, M.D., calcium can help tighten the lower esophageal sphincter, which keeps the contents of your stomach where they are meant to be, and not overflowing into your esophagus. In addition, supplements like slippery elm might be able to help coat your stomach lining, which can act as a barrier against stomach acid, as Dr. Sierpina told Health magazine. Drinking aloe vera juice might also be able to help cut back inflammation in your stomach and esophagus, therefore working to eliminate discomfort.
While GERD can be a painful and uncomfortable illness, there are many different methods of relieving your symptoms. Before trying out any supplements or methods of treatment, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor. We hope some of these suggestions are able to help and provide some relief. Look for the aforementioned supplements and more at eVitamins, and have a great weekend!