(HealthNewsDigest.com) – A late-night dinner of pizza and soda might sound like a good idea. But that evening splurge can lead to something much less fun: heartburn.
If you regularly experience heartburn, you’re probably familiar with the over-the-counter medications available for relief. But several lifestyle changes can also help prevent or relieve symptoms.
Mayo Clinic experts offer this advice:
- Avoid triggering foods. Common culprits include fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine.
- Sit up after a meal. After eating, wait at least 3 hours before lying down, if possible. This might mean adjusting your dinner time.
Elevate your upper body. If you experience heartburn while trying to sleep, place bed risers or wood or cement blocks under the feet of your bed. The goal is to have the head of your bed raised 6 to 9 inches higher than the foot.
Another option is to insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your entire upper body. Raising just your head with pillows usually isn’t effective.
- Wear loose clothing. Tight-fitting clothing puts pressure on your abdomen, which can push stomach acid up into the esophagus.
- Calm stress and anxiety. Muscle relaxation and guided imagery might reduce heartburn symptoms. Ask your doctor about what complementary therapies might help you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol. Limiting use of alcohol and tobacco helps reduce irritation.
When to seek care
If these lifestyle changes don’t give you the heartburn relief you’re hoping for, see your doctor. He or she can help you get heartburn under control.