7 Tips for Managing GERD During the Holidays

Jan 16, 2023
7 Tips for Managing GERD During the Holidays
Nothing ruins a holiday dinner like the acid reflux that comes later. Keep reading to find out how to reduce your symptoms and keep enjoying your favorite holiday treats.

November through January, there’s no shortage of celebrations that include champagne, cookies, and delicious buttery delicacies. Unless you’re very careful, a gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) flare-up is almost unavoidable. 

No matter what you choose to eat and drink during the holiday season, our expert team at Zalwango Health & Wellness in Skokie, Illinois, is available to help you manage your GERD and keep symptoms to a minimum. With convenient same-day visits or telemedicine visits for chronic disease management, you can manage your GERD. 

Read these seven helpful tips for managing acid reflux during the holiday season. 

1. Choose loose-fitting clothes

We all have that one tight and flattering pair of pants or skirt that comes out for holidays and other special occasions. If you want to reduce acid reflux symptoms like burping, abdominal pain, heartburn, and regurgitation, it’s best to opt for loose clothing that gives you plenty of space to breathe. Take off the belt, go up a size, or opt for an elastic waistband. 

2. Watch your positions

A big turkey dinner can leave you feeling tired and ready for a nap. Ideally, you should stay upright and avoid laying down for at least three hours after a meal, but if you must rest, be sure to lay on your left side instead of your right. 

Laying on your left side helps you avoid aggravating your stomach because of the organ’s shape. That allows the contents of your stomach to settle so they won’t push up into your esophagus. 

3. Stop smoking

For many people, smoking cessation is no easy feat. But you should know that the habit isn’t doing your acid reflux any favors. Smoking can disrupt the function of the lower esophageal sphincter, which makes it easy for stomach acid to flow upward and cause heartburn and regurgitation. 

4. Know your triggers

If you’ve had GERD, you are probably with the specific foods and beverages that cause flare-ups. With such robust meal spreads around the holidays, you should have no issue excluding or minimizing the worst culprits. 

Acid reflux symptoms are commonly triggered by:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fried foods
  • Soda
  • Greasy or fatty foods
  • Citrus
  • Onions
  • Garlic

If you’re not sure what makes your GERD worse, there’s no better time than holiday feasting to start keeping a food diary of what you consume and when you get symptoms. 

5. Keep some gum in your pocket

Chewing gum helps you produce more saliva, which can help keep the partially-digested food and stomach acid down in your stomach where it belongs. It can also soothe an irritated esophagus.

6. Don’t exercise right after eating

As eager as you may be to get to the gym and fulfill your New Year’s resolution, wait at least a few hours after eating to work out. Rigorous exercise can jostle the contents of your stomach and cause them to flow upward. 

7. Eat slowly

A scrumptious holiday meal can have your mouth watering. As eager as you might be to fill your plate, be sure to take your time to enjoy every bite and sip. Eating too quickly can increase GERD symptoms. To help, consider setting your fork down after every bite. 

Anticipating GERD symptoms this holiday season?

Call Zalwango Health & Wellness or book an appointment online to discuss acid reflux today.