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Log your foods. This is very important step. Consider not only what you ate just prior to experiencing symptoms, but what you ate earlier as well. Certain foods seem to increase the incidence of GERD symptoms by weakening the lower esophageal sphincter, lessening its ability to keep stomach contents in the stomach. Look for patterns and begin limiting or avoiding the foods that seem to trigger your symptoms. Watch out for these common triggers:
Alcohol, butter or margarine, caffeine-containing foods and beverages, carbonated beverages, chocolate and cocoa, citrus fruits and citrus juices, coffee (regular and decaf), cream-based sauces, fatty meats, fried foods, garlic, gravy, high-fat foods, mint flavors, nuts and nut butters (including peanut butter), oils, onions, pastries, pepper, peppermint, salad dressings, spearmint, spicy foods, tomatoes and tomato products, and vinegar.
Consider other habits. Other behaviors can make a difference too. Did you eat on the run, or eat and then run soon after? The following habits can all trigger symptoms: consuming large meals; eating too quickly; lying down soon after meals; exercising too soon after meals; and wearing tight-fitting clothing or belts.
Remember that even if you are able to eliminate your GERD symptoms, it is still important to consult with your doctor. Even without symptoms, GERD can still be present and may lead to serious medical complications if left untreated.
Besides acting as a tool that will help you to modify your own behavior and symptoms, your heartburn journal is also a great way to help you communicate with your doctor as you develop a plan to battle your burn.