There are some lifestyle changes you can make that may help you feel better. Two things you can do to help relieve your symptoms are: lose weight, and don't use tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff.
Extra weight can put pressure on your stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter, causing it to open and increase acid reflux. By losing weight, you can reduce this pressure, and it may relieve your GERD symptoms.
People who smoke are more likely to cough, which puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, and cigarettes have been shown to weaken it. Both of these effects on the sphincter can cause it to open more often and increase acid reflux.
Tobacco products also:
• Cause your body to make LESS saliva, which you need to help neutralize the stomach juices in your esophagus, and
• Cause your body to make MORE stomach juices.
So, using tobacco products can make it more likely for you to develop GERD.
Your doctor may also suggest that you:
• Avoid wearing tight clothing, which can put pressure on your stomach and worsen symptoms of GERD,
• Chew gum or suck on lozenges to increase your saliva production, which helps to neutralize acid reflux, and
• Reduce stress.
Stress can increase both how much acid your stomach produces, AND the amount of time it takes to empty after eating, both of which make it more likely for reflux to happen.