- DO eat high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals.
- DO get plenty of regular exercise. Be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning a fitness program.
- DO talk with your health care provider about any medications you take. Some may cause constipation.
- DON'T wait to go to the bathroom.
- DON'T abuse laxatives.
When the sphincter muscle between your esophagus and stomach doesn't close adequately, stomach acid can wash back into the esophagus. This creates heartburn, a burning feeling just below or behind your breastbone. This condition is called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, the NIDDK says. GERD is caused by certain foods and eating habits, smoking and stress, among other things.
Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, citrus drinks, chocolate, mint, or spicy foods may help prevent heartburn.
These tips can also help:
- DO relax. Eat slowly and chew food completely.
- DO lose weight, if necessary.
- DO take an antacid as directed by your health care provider.
- DO ask your health care provider about using over-the-counter medications called H2 blockers and acid pump inhibitors. Formerly available only by prescription, these drugs can be taken before eating to prevent heartburn.
- DO eat smaller portions.
- DON'T overeat.
- DON'T smoke cigarettes.
- DON'T lie down right after you eat. Instead, wait a couple of hours.
- DON'T eat or drink for two to three hours before you go to bed.