When the subject of “treating” a disease comes up people generally turn to the idea of science or medicine first, expecting a prescription drug to be ordered. One way to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease is to make some important changes in one’s individual lifestyle. This can sometimes be even more successful on a large scale than any prescription drug because some people don’t realize that their diet may need to be different than a friend, even though they eat the same things. Different people react differently to different foods.
One of the first things to consider as a lifestyle change is the position that the individual suffering from acid reflux sleeps in. Instead of sleeping perfectly flat where gravity becomes irrelevant and the acid can sit in a single position, purchase a pillow or cushion that places the upper body upright. Not just the head, but the entire upper body needs to be raised to restore the effects of gravity, in turn keeping the acid out of the esophagus for a prolonged period of time.
Everyone loves a big and hearty meal, but the traditional American Family dinners may not be the best thing for the acid reflux sufferers. Instead of waiting for a large family meal to send you into the evening or a big lunch to help overcome the rest of the business day, try eating smaller and more frequent meals to alleviate the acid reflux problem. With less food to distend the stomach and less work required by the stomach for the stomach to be emptied, the chances of an episode of acid reflux occurring will drop considerably.
Try avoiding the chocolate, cola drinks, peppermints, and alcohol as they tend to irritate the lower sphincter and cause reflux. Fatty foods and smoking can also cause the problem, which can humorously be alleviated at times by chewing gum. Since the gum creates more saliva to offset the acid in the esophagus you are effectively battling the acid that is trying to travel back up your system.