5 Steps To Prevent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease can be quite discomforting. Here are some tips by an expert for prevention. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Nov 24, 2021
5 Steps To Prevent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Concentrated coffee, decadent chocolate, fizzy drinks, what’s life without these pleasures? Unfortunately, that giddy tingly feeling you experience may not be as pleasing to the body as it is to the mind. The stress of an unhealthy indulgent lifestyle eventually leads to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD impairs the lining of the food pipe. It is caused by the malfunctioning of the digestive system, specifically the backflow of digestive juices to the food pipe. This health condition has become increasingly common due to the habitually unhealthy practices the populace continues to adopt. Although GERD is often ignored as it appears trivial at its early stages, prolonged disregard runs the risk of severe diseases like oesophageal cancer. 

People affected by gastroesophageal reflux experience symptoms such as irritation in the voice box, aggravating asthma, cough, or disrupted sleep. Heartburn or a sensation of fluid moving up one’s chest is synonymous with this condition. This medical condition may be experienced in 4 stages of severity, namely mild, moderate, severe, and precancerous lesions. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Surgical Gastroenterologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital Kondapur, Hyderabad, to know about some prevention tips for GERD. 

GERD prevention tips 

Patients experiencing the advanced stage of GERD, develop Barette’s Oesophagus. This is a precancerous condition that may lead to esophageal cancer if left untreated. Its progress may be curbed with close monitoring and procedures such as esophagectomy, radiofrequency ablation, and photodynamic therapy.  The extent of decline due to GERD may be controlled by resorting to a few clever changes in our everyday lives. Here are 5 steps to prevent GERD: 

1. Steer clear of stress

Stress, anxiety, and exhaustion are aggregators of GERD. High levels of anxiety and stress lead to increased acid production in the stomach. It also causes long-lasting muscle tension around the stomach, increasing pressure in the organ and pushing the acid up.

2. Avoid certain foods

Those prone to GERD are advised to refrain from the consumption of high-fat foods such as fries, butter, whole milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream. Spicy food, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks are also discouraged. Instead, they are advocated to increase the intake of fibrous foods such as whole grains; root vegetables like carrot, sweet potato; and greens such as asparagus, broccoli, beans.

Also read: National GERD Awareness Week: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment By Dr Ajay Kumar

3. Consume food in smaller portions

Those likely to develop GERD are recommended to cut down the size of their meals and have them at several small intervals instead. This prevents the stomach walls from stretching too much and reduces the risk of the condition.

4. Say no to smoking

smoking

The digestive juices in our body are held tightly by the lower esophagus. Engaging in smoking loosens our ring muscles, enabling the free movement of acid. This leads to a burning sensation in the chest area. 

5. A gluten-free diet

The fitness fad may be the answer to GERD patients’ prayers. Protein components present in grains such as barley, rye, and wheat may cause or worsen gastroesophageal reflux. Adopting a Gluten-free diet proves to be beneficial. 

Also read: Diet To Treat Or Sooth Pain Caused Due To Acid Reflux

If anyone experiences any unpleasant symptom in the body, immediate expert consultation is recommended. A medical practitioner can conduct various tests and make assessments based on the level of acidity and damage done to the esophagus. On identifying the underlying causes, one can discuss available treatment options and surgical procedures. 

Image credits: Freepik

Disclaimer