GERD affects one in three French people and close to 50% of patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux say they are dissatisfied with their drug treatments. The adoption of certain lifestyle and dietary habits remains a crucial component of the treatment that will help you reduce the intensity and frequency of reflux.
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux, is not necessarily a serious problem, but it can become one if the necessary precautions are not taken. It is characterized by a rise of the acidic contents of the stomach into the esophagus or to the mouth, which can lead to a change in the quality of life of the individual and damage to the esophagus. This phenomenon usually occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle located at the junction between the stomach and the esophagus which acts as an anti-reflux system, has had trouble functioning normally.
Normally, this muscle opens only when food goes down the esophagus into the stomach and then closes to prevent the acidic contents of the stomach from going back up into the stomach. esophagus. However, in people who suffer from gastric reflux, this muscle becomes a little less vigilant. Remaining half-open after the ingestion of food, this sphincter allows the acidic contents to sneak towards the esophagus. But the cells of the esophagus are not designed to resist such an acid pH.
Result: burning sensations in the stomach (pyrosis) and acid reflux in the stomach. esophagus or mouth are felt after a meal. Additionally, bad bitter or sour taste in the mouth, regurgitation, recurrent cough, sore throat, and erosion of tooth enamel are other symptoms that can be seen in people with acid reflux.
Tips to contain GERD
To reduce reflux stomach problems, the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits and certain specific eating behaviors can have a considerable positive impact.
Here are some tips on which to build:
– Eat slowly and make sure to chew each bite thoroughly;
– Eat small portions of food more often. To do this, focus on listening to signals of hunger and satiety and include snacks between meals as soon as you feel a bit peckish. You will thus be less hungry at mealtimes, you will find it easier to reduce the tempo and you will be better able to respect your satiety (not to be too full after the meal);
– Maintain an upright position during meals and 45 to 60 minutes after meals;
– Regain your natural weight (for people suffering from overweight or obesity);
– Be sure to consume 2 to 3 servings of meat per day and promote the consumption of low-fat protein sources, such as lean fish, poultry, tofu, tempeh, legumes
What to avoid doing in case of GERD
Conversely, some foods or eating behaviors can accentuate gastric reflux. Here are some other tips to reduce them:
– Avoid lying down or bending over 2 to 3 hours after eating;
– Avoid large meals;
– Avoid chewing gum and sparkling drinks, such as soft drinks and carbonated water, which cause air to enter your digestive system;
– Avoid fatty or fried foods, such as fast food, pastries, ultra-processed foods, cold meats, high-fat cheeses and fatty meats or their skins, because they decrease the tone of the LES;
– Avoid foods rich in methylxanthines, such as chocolate, tea, cola or coffee, because they decrease the tone of the LES;
– Avoid foods rich in volatile acids, such as mint (chewing gum, lozenges, etc.), as they reduce LES tone;
– Limit your alcohol consumption to special occasions;
– Avoid Eliminate gastric irritants, such as citrus fruits or tomatoes and their juices, coffee (regular or decaffeinated), strong spices, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
A few simple gestures can prove useful
– Raise the headboard approximately 10 cm;
– Quitting smoking;
– Going for a walk after eating;
– Adopting good sleep hygiene;
– Avoid tight clothing.
Esmaillizadeh, A et al. Patterns of diet-related practices and prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Neurogastroenterology & Motility 2013; 25: 831-e638.
Wu, KL et al. Effect of liquid meals with different volumes on gastroesophageal reflux disease. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2014; 29: 469-638.
Yamamichi, N et al. Lifestyle factors affecting gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms: a cross-sectional study of healthy 2014 adults using FSSG scores. BMC Medicine 2012; 10: 10
Yang, JH et al. Recurrence of gastroesophageal reflux disease correlated with a short dinner-to-bedtime interval. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2014; 29: 730-735.