Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, more commonly known as GERD, is a chronic disease that can occur when stomach contents repeatedly flow backwards into the esophagus, also known as the “food pipe”. Though generally a treatable disease, serious complications can result if GERD is not treated properly. Some symptoms of GERD include frequent or longstanding heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or a sour taste in the mouth among others. Heart burn, the most common symptom of GERD often arrives with a vengeance during the holiday season, beginning around Thanksgiving. This can put a damper on family festivities. So how can you have a good handle on your GERD during the holidays?
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Do not schedule meals to late. Late night meals can lead to aggravating your GERD.
- We all enjoy snacks and appetizers, so keep them light. Fatty foods take more time to leave the stomach and are more likely to aggravate symptoms. These include cheese, dips, and fried foods.
- Even though you will be busy with family and gatherings, remember to keep active. Stick with your exercise routine as weight loss can help alleviate GERD symptoms.
- If you are not a smoker, keep it up. If you do smoke, work at trying to quit. Nicotine, found in cigarettes, weakens the muscles within your food pipe that prevent back flow of stomach contents.
- When it comes to beverages, you need to be careful what you drink. Citrus fruits and juices, like grapefruit, orange and tomato, are acidic and can worsen GERD symptoms. Alcohol can worsen reflux, so don’t overdo the drinks. And when it comes to soft drinks, you will want to watch how much you consume. The best choice is water.
- Do not get carried away with seasonings and spices. Spices, as well as things like onions and garlic, can worsen heartburn.
- No matter how good it tastes, avoid deep frying your turkey. Fried foods are known to intensify GERD symptoms.
- Instead of taking a large plate and piling it high, use smaller plates. Eating large meals can trigger symptoms. It is easier on your stomach if you eat smaller meals more often during the day.
- After dinner comes dessert. Be careful you do not over do it on the sweets like chocolate, as they can lead to issues. A mint may also seem like a good idea to tame your breath but it can also trigger heartburn.
- Remember to keep in mind that you need to relax after you eat. Jumping right into activities after eating can lead to relux.
- Even though you may feel like taking a nap after a tasty turkey dinner, don’t do it. Lying down within three hours of eating can cause GERD symptoms to flare up.
These suggestions will hopefully make the holiday season more enjoyable. Also keeping in contact with your doctor will ensure you get the treatment you require. A good idea if you are traveling is to look at a pillbox for medication instead of carrying multiple pill bottles.