Tips for Preventing Exercise-Induced Heartburn

Many people exercise to feel the burn. Muscle burn that is, not heartburn. Unfortunately, some people who exercise vigorously, experience the uncomfortable burning in the esophagus and throat, referred to as exercise-induced Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). If this is you, taking a few precautions before exercising will have you feeling the “right” kind of burn.

Take an antacid before your workout – Always have an over-the-counter antacid with you, like Tums, Maalox, or Gaviscon to take to the gym or to your favorite Atlanta park. Slowly chew an antacid tablet at the first sign of heartburn. Some over-the-counter antacids are available in granular form for even faster relief.

Avoid exercising after meals – Your risk of experiencing exercise-induced heartburn intensifies if you work out too soon after eating, especially if it’s a large meal. Heartburn develops when the flap that separates the esophagus from the stomach opens, which enables stomach acids to enter into the esophagus. Exercise can increases intra-abdominal pressure causing the lower esophageal flap to relax allowing acid to wash up into the esophagus. When combined with a large meal, exercise can exasperate heartburn. Exercises like sit-ups, leg lifts, and bending over to touch your toes can aggravate the condition. To reduce Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) symptoms with exercise, wait several hours after eating to exercise to allow time for the food to move out of your stomach.

If you are experiencing heartburn during most or all of your workout sessions, see your Atlanta physician as soon as possible. You may have chronic Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which needs a full medical evaluation to determine or prevent damage to the lining of your esophagus.


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