Do you gastroesphageal reflux or GERD? Did you know that there are things you can do to help yourself? Sixty percent of the adult population will experience some type of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) within a 12 month period and 20 to 30 percent will have weekly symptoms. Approximately seven million people in the United States have some symptoms of GERD. A study done in 2004, approximately 20 percent of the United States population reported reflux symptoms that occurred at least weekly.
Here’s what you can do to help yourself :
Quitting smoking is essential.
People who are overweight should try to reduce food intake and exercise to lose weight.
People with GERD should avoid tight clothing, particularly around the abdomen.
If possible, GERD patients should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), or naproxen (Aleve), among others. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a good alternative pain reliever.
For many people, these tips can be helpful in relieving symptoms and preventing future episodes of GERD:
o Avoid large meals; eat small frequent meals throughout the day
o Avoid lying down at least 2 hours after eating a meal
o Maintain a healthy weight, as excess weight contributes to reflux
o Exercise regularly
o Avoid use of tobacco products
Although gum chewing is commonly believed to increase the risk for GERD symptoms, one study reported it might be helpful. Because saliva helps neutralize acid and contains a number of other factors that protect the esophagus, chewing gum 30 minutes after a meal has been found to help relieve heartburn and even protect against damage caused by GERD. Chewing on anything at all can help since it stimulates saliva production.