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Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, as it is commonly known is a digestive disorder that is caused primarily due to intestinal distress. GERD is caused in the muscle that lies between the oesophagus and the stomach, when the acid produced in the stomach starts to flow backwards. For patients suffering from GERD, the acids flow back into the oesophagus instead of the stomach, causing symptoms like severe heartburn, chest pain and nausea, among others.
So what does one do to deal with GERD? Here's a brief list:
- Control weight: Being overweight and obese are two of the most important factors that contribute to discomfort in GERD patients. Working towards a healthier weight is a sure shot way of dealing with this ailment.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking: The LES or the muscle ring that can be found between the stomach and the oesophagus relaxes with the intake of alcohol or with smoking, which prevents it from closing, in order to stop the stomach's juices from reaching the oesophagus. So, giving up both substances would be a good idea if you are a GERD patient.
- Go gluten free: Adopting a gluten free diet can help you cut ingredients, including grains and dairy products that contain more protein than what your digestive tract can handle.
- Other dietary measures: In order to handle GERD effectively, you will need to remove or reduce chocolate, fatty food, spicy food, and even oily and fried food from your diet. You may need the help of food with extra fibre, like fruit, so that food can pass through the digestive tract faster.
- Smaller and well timed meals: Eating meals regularly and dividing them into smaller meals that can be digested quickly and more efficiently is one of the best ways of dealing with GERD to prevent the onset of backward flowing stomach acids.
- Exercise: Ensuring that you do not take a nap or lie down right after a meal and doing exercise everyday will also help in doing away with the uncomfortable and painful symptoms of this disease.
Making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to deal with GERD. Yet, it would be best to see a doctor regarding severe cases where the symptoms do not abate and medication may be required.