Heartburn: 3 Ways to Spot Your GERD Triggers

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Living with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be frustrating as it means experiencing burning sensations now and then, particularly during specific times of the day after consuming certain foods or beverages. It can be more challenging when you have an attack of heartburn unexpectedly, especially if you don’t have any immediate access to relieving medications. 

That’s why logging what stimulates your GERD symptoms are critical to getting ahead of your disease, and avoiding factors that are triggering your discomfort. With that in mind, the guide below should help you pinpoint your triggers: 

What are the Common Causes of Heartburn?

The first step to identifying your trigger points is first to have an overview of the common causes of heartburn. 

1. Potential Trigger Foods 

  • Chocolate
  • Spicy foods 
  • High-fat foods
  • Fried foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products 
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint 

2. Potential Trigger Beverages 

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeinated drinks 
  • Citrus and tomato juices
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol

The foods and beverages mentioned above have higher chances of jump-starting the production of your stomach acid, which could amplify the symptoms of GERD. Most often experience lower chest burning and pain as the muscle between the esophagus and stomach relaxes. 

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to opt for the foods and drinks above out of your diet. It’s not the food that causes the GERD symptoms, but rather the amount you eat. In that regard, eating smaller portions as opposed to having two to three big meals a day can help alleviate your symptoms. 

3. Potential Trigger Activities 

Other than eating certain foods or drinking specific beverages, some activities can also stimulate the production of acids in your stomach. The following actions can aggravate your symptoms: 

  • Eating late at night
  • Lying down an hour after eating a full meal 
  • Lying on your right side, which can place the stomach higher than your esophagus. This prompts the acid to spit back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation. 
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Smoking 

With that in mind, you can relieve the symptoms by taking a walk after meals to ensure all contents go down properly. Try to avoid eating heavy meals at least two hours before you hit the hay, and once it’s time for bedtime, it’s better to elevate your head as you sleep. 

Logging Your Trigger Points to Avoid Heartburn 

Having GERD can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to hit you unexpectedly. Keeping a food diary can help you log down, which common trigger points affect your GERD symptoms, allowing you to pin down precisely what’s causing your reflux. 

Knowing your trigger points can help you control and even avoid situations that could trigger your heartburn, making it possible to lead your days without experiencing the all-too-familiar burning sensation. 

Over-the-counter medication can soothe mild symptoms of heartburn, but if you’re experiencing persistent pain in your chest, be sure to check with your doctor. 

If you’re looking for more health tips and news about heartburn and GERD treatments, check out the Heartburn No More website for some insightful tips.