Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Most people diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus experience frequent heartburn and acid reflux. Medications can control these signs and symptoms, but changes to your daily life also may help. Consider trying to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight. If you're overweight or obese, ask your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Three meals a day, with small snacks in between, may help you stop overeating. Continual overeating leads to excess weight, which aggravates heartburn.
  • Avoid tightfitting clothes. Clothes that fit tightly around your waist put pressure on your abdomen, aggravating reflux.
  • Eliminate heartburn triggers. Everyone has specific triggers. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, garlic, onion, caffeine, and nicotine may make heartburn worse.
  • Avoid stooping or bending. Tying your shoes is OK. Bending over for a long time to weed your garden may not be, especially soon after eating.
  • Don't lie down after eating. Wait at least three hours after eating to lie down or go to bed.
  • Raise the head of your bed. Place wooden blocks under your bed to elevate your head. Aim for an elevation of six to eight inches. Raising your head by using only pillows isn't a good alternative.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking may increase stomach acid. If you smoke, ask your doctor about strategies for stopping.
May. 25, 2011

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