How Lifestyle Changes Can Help you Avoid Heartburn

Is frequent heartburn interrupting your fun time with family and friends? Below are some lifestyle changes that can help decrease the impact heartburn has on your life.

There are ways you can begin to take control of your life, by not smoking, reducing stress, watching what you’re eating, and exercising regularly a minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week.

Stop Smoking

found that cigarette smoking slows the production of saliva, which is one of your body’s defenses against damage to the esophagus. Saliva production is critical to the stomach because saliva contains acid-reducing chemicals called bicarbonates. Not only does smoking decrease the acidity level of your stomach, but it also increases your body’s esophagus protection system that’s needed to fight acid backsplash that’s coming up from the stomach.

Reduce Stress

Many have also found that reducing stress can be a helpful means to avoid heartburn. While stress hasn’t been linked directly to heartburn, it is known that stress can lead to behaviors that elicit heartburn. During times of increased stress, people’s eating, exercise, and medication routines all become disrupted. Working late may cause you to eat late, which doesn’t give your stomach time to digest before you lie down.

Watch What You Eat

Eating slower can also make a big difference to heartburn sufferers. It’s been shown that people do not completely sense how full they are until 15-20 minutes after eating.

Elevate Your Head at Night

Elevating the head of your bed 6-8 inches can also help decrease the flow of stomach contents into places where they shouldn’t be. Try using plastic or wooden bed rises to support the bedposts or legs, or buy a therapeutic wedge pillow. It’s also important to avoid lying flat or bending over after eating. Staying upright increases the chances of stomach contents staying put – that’s why it’s important not to go to bed right after eating.

Loosen Your Belt After Big Meals

A tight belt tends to push your stomach contents into the esophagus where they don’t belong.

Exercise Frequently

Maintaining a healthy weight is a critical part of managing heartburn. For some people, physical activity actually aggravates the symptoms of heartburn. In fact, often the more intense the exercise, the worse the heartburn symptoms.

Experiment which workout is best for your body:

  • Try low impact exercises like riding a bike or walking. Running or jogging can actually increase the chances of acid reflux.

  • Pursue aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, or dancing instead of resistance exercises like weightlifting.

  • Try going easy on your abs. Crunches and sit-ups add pressure on the abdominal muscles, which can aggravate acid reflux.

  • Use gravity – any position that reverses the natural gravity of digestion like handstands or other inverted stretches can trigger heartburn.

If these changes aren’t enough to keep your heartburn at bay, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and possible treatment options. 

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