Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Lifestyle changes may help reduce the frequency of heartburn. Consider trying to:
July 31, 2014
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain it. If you are overweight or obese, work to slowly lose weight — no more than 1 or 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Ask your doctor for help in devising a weight-loss strategy that will work for you.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing. Clothes that fit tightly around your waist put pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Avoid foods and drinks that trigger heartburn. Everyone has specific triggers. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine may make heartburn worse. Avoid foods you know will trigger your heartburn.
- Eat smaller meals. Avoid overeating by eating smaller meals.
- Don't lie down after a meal. Wait at least three hours after eating before lying down or going to bed.
- Elevate the head of your bed. If you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep, put gravity to work for you. Place wood or cement blocks under the feet of your bed so that the head end is raised by 6 to 9 inches. If it's not possible to elevate your bed, you can insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Wedges are available at drugstores and medical supply stores. Raising your head with additional pillows is not effective.
- Don't smoke. Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter's ability to function properly.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Kahrilas PJ. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 1, 2014.
- Kahrilas PJ. Medical management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 1, 2014.
- Schwaitzberg SD. Surgical management of gastroesophageal reflux in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Jan. 5, 2014.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Kahrilas PJ. Complications of gastroesophageal reflux in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 5, 2014.
- Katz PO, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:308.
- AskMayoExpert. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Weight management. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/recommen.htm. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. April 24, 2011.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 23, 2013.
- Fass R. Alternative therapeutic approaches to chronic proton pump inhibitor. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;10:338.
- Patrick L. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A review of conventional and alternative treatments. Alternative Medicine Review. 2011;16:116.
- Safe use of complementary health products and practices. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/safety. Accessed Jan. 5, 2014.
- Lipham JC, et al. The LINX® reflux management system: Confirmed safety and efficacy now at 4 years. Surgical Endoscopy. 2012;26:2944.
- U.S. News best hospitals 2013-2014. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/gastroenterology-and-gi-surgery. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Alexander JA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 12, 2014.