Unlike acid reflux, bile reflux seems unrelated to lifestyle factors. But because many people experience both acid reflux and bile reflux, your symptoms may be eased by lifestyle changes:
Sept. 15, 2017
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases the production of stomach acid and dries up saliva, which helps protect the esophagus.
- Eat smaller meals. Eating smaller, more-frequent meals reduces pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, helping to prevent the valve from opening at the wrong time.
- Stay upright after eating. After a meal, waiting two to three hours before lying down allows time for your stomach to empty.
- Limit fatty foods. High-fat meals relax the lower esophageal sphincter and slow the rate at which food leaves your stomach.
- Avoid problem foods and beverages. Some foods increase the production of stomach acid and may relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Among the foods with this effect are caffeinated and carbonated drinks, chocolate, citrus foods and juices, vinegar-based dressings, onions, tomato-based foods, spicy foods and mint.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and irritates the esophagus.
- Lose excess weight. Heartburn and acid reflux are more likely to occur when excess weight puts added pressure on your stomach.
- Raise your bed. Sleeping with your upper body raised 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) may help prevent reflux symptoms. Raising the head of your bed with blocks or sleeping on a foam wedge is more effective than is using extra pillows.
- Relax. When you're under stress, digestion slows, possibly worsening reflux symptoms. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga, may help.
- Townsend CM, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Rakel RE. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Fass R. Approach to refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 4, 2014.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Matsuzaki J, et al. Bile acids increase levels of microRNAs 221 and 222, leading to degradation of CDX2 during esophageal carcinogenesis. Gastroenterology. 2013;145:1300.
- Quante M, et al. Barrett esophagus: What a mouse model can teach us about human disease. Cell Cycle. 2012;11:4328.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 15, 2014.