(HealthDay News) -- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach contents back up into the esophagus, often causing a feeling of heartburn.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons offers these suggestions to help tame GERD symptoms:
- Lose weight. Most people are helped "substantially" when they lose significant weight, the society says.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Eat meals at least several hours before bed time, giving the stomach some time to empty.
- Keep the head of the bed about 6 inches to 8 inches higher than the foot of the bed.
- Steer clear of smoking, high-fat foods, spicy foods, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint.
- Talk to your doctor about medications to help control GERD. And while on the subject of medications, ask your doctor if anything you're taking could actually be making your symptoms worse.