“My doctor told me I need to lose weight. Will that really help my reflux? “
Losing weight will improve reflux in most people. The problem is that people just won’t do it. Studies have suggested that physician recommendations for weight loss and other lifestyle changes don’t work. However, the ultimate conclusion is based, not on the “therapy,” but on poor compliance. The major rise in obesity is one factor accounting for the increase in gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is therefore reassuring that on an individual basis, if a patient can lose weight, reflux symptoms will improve. Losing as little as ten pounds can make a significant difference for many people.
The reason for this is simple. Obese people have a large amount of weight in their abdominal wall. This weight causes a rise in pressure inside the abdomen, which is then transmitted to the internal organs. This should be thought of as a force pushing or squeezing on the stomach. As a result, the stomach contents are forced up or “refluxed” into the esophagus. Weight loss results in a decrease in this pressure and less force encouraging reflux.
Why, then, do slender people have reflux, or do symptoms not always improve even after weight loss? The answer lies in the ultimate cause of reflux, which is loss of function of the valve between the stomach and esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This valve represents a “barrier” to reflux. If completely dysfunctional, reflux will occur no matter what! Fortunately, most reflux sufferers still have partial function of their LES, so reducing the stress on the remaining valve function by weight loss is usually successful.
RefluxMD is here to help!
We did the research to validate weight loss as an effective means to reducing the symptoms of acid reflux. Our article, How excess weight is destroying your lower esophageal sphincter (and driving your GERD symptoms), highlights what doctors and researchers say about this subject. Until March 2016, RefluxMD was unable to recommend a GERD-friendly diet program to help our members, simply because none existed. However, we are happy to announce that Scale Down for Relief (SDFR) in now up, active, and helping many of our members to find their path to relief and good health. We hope that you will take the first step toward optimal health by achieving and maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 24 or less, and that you will consider SDFR and RefluxMD as your health coach and partner.
Get started today by reading our comprehensive approach to designing a diet, 5 steps to an effective acid reflux diet. You can do this!