How do I prevent and manage my heartburn?
You can prevent and manage your heartburn by making changes in your diet and lifestyle. The first things to try are the following:
- Don't go to bed with a full stomach. Eat meals at least three to four hours before you lie down. This gives the stomach a chance to empty and reduces the chance of heartburn.
- Don't overeat. Decrease the size of portions at meal times, or eat four to five small meals instead of three large ones.
- Eat slowly. Remember to put your fork down between bites.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
You may want to try other approaches, in which you:
- Avoid the foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn symptoms. Write down the foods that seem to cause your discomfort in a heartburn diary.
- Shed some pounds to relieve your symptoms. If you are overweight, follow a healthy weight loss plan.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (or LES). This muscle controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach. The LES prevents the acid-containing contents of the stomach from entering the esophagus.
- Avoid alcohol. Instead of drinking, try exercise, walking, meditation, stretching, or deep breathing to relieve stress.
- Drink warm liquids, such as herbal tea.
- Keep track of when heartburn hits and the specific activities that seem to trigger the incidents.