Five Steps for Preventing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can cause significant discomfort. Here are some prevention tips from an expert.

Five Steps for Preventing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Indulging in concentrated coffee, rich chocolate, and fizzy drinks may offer immediate pleasure, but the repercussions on the body can be less delightful. These habits can contribute to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that affects the lining of the food pipe. GERD arises from digestive system dysfunction, particularly the reflux of digestive juices into the food pipe. Unfortunately, this condition is increasingly prevalent due to persistently unhealthy lifestyle choices. While GERD may seem insignificant in its early stages, prolonged neglect can escalate to serious illnesses like esophageal cancer.

Those afflicted with gastroesophageal reflux may experience symptoms such as voice box irritation, worsening asthma, coughing, or disrupted sleep. Heartburn, characterized by a sensation of fluid moving up the chest, is a hallmark of this condition. GERD manifests in four stages of severity: mild, moderate, severe, and precancerous lesions. To gain insights into prevention strategies for GERD, the editorial team at Healthonlyforyou consulted Dr. Jagan Mohan Reddy, a Surgical Gastroenterologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Kondapur, Hyderabad.

Tips for Preventing GERD

Tips for Preventing GERD

1. Avoid stressful situations

Stress, anxiety, and fatigue exacerbate GERD symptoms. Elevated levels of stress and anxiety stimulate greater acid secretion in the stomach and contribute to prolonged muscle tension around the stomach, resulting in heightened pressure within the organ and pushing acid upwards.

2. Refrain from consuming specific foods

Those susceptible to GERD are advised to avoid high-fat foods such as fries, butter, whole milk, cheese, and ice cream, as well as sour cream. Spicy foods, citrus fruits, and carbonated beverages are also discouraged. Instead, they are encouraged to increase their intake of fibrous foods like whole grains, root vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and greens like asparagus, broccoli, and beans.

3. Opt for smaller meal portions

Individuals prone to GERD are recommended to reduce the size of their meals and eat more frequently throughout the day. This prevents excessive stretching of the stomach walls and lowers the likelihood of developing the condition.

4. Refrain from smoking

Refrain from smoking

Engaging in smoking loosens the ring muscles that tightly hold digestive juices in the lower esophagus, allowing acid to move freely and causing a burning sensation in the chest area.

5. Consider a gluten-free diet

For GERD patients, adopting a gluten-free diet may offer relief. Protein components found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat can potentially exacerbate or trigger gastroesophageal reflux.

In case of any discomfort or symptoms in the body, seeking immediate expert consultation is recommended. A medical professional can conduct various tests to assess the level of acidity and damage to the esophagus. By identifying the underlying causes, available treatment options and surgical procedures can be discussed.