Regular exercise and healthier diets may reduce symptoms of reflux (GERD/GORD) substantially for some women and could even make medication unnecessary – a new study claims.

Dietary and lifestyle modifications are often recommended to alleviate symptoms of reflux, such as heartburn, and the results of a large-scale study appear to support this.

The Nurses’ Health Study II is one of the longest running studies of women’s health with more than 110,000 female participants returning biennial health questionnaires, including information on smoking, body mass index, physical activity and medication use, since 1989.

The latest findings from the study show that FIVE diet and lifestyle factors can make a significant impact on reflux symptoms:

• Normal weight
• Never smoking
• Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily
• Restricting coffee, tea and sodas to two cups daily
• Following a ‘prudent’ diet

Researchers found that following all these guidelines could reduce reflux symptoms by 37 per cent. The more of the specific guidelines a woman followed, the lower her risk of symptoms.

Among women using common heartburn treatments (proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor antagonists), adhering to the guidelines also reduced symptoms.

Dr Andrew T. Chan, the study’s senior author and a gastroenterologist, said: “Given that there are long-term health effects of GERD and lingering concerns about the side effects of medications used to treat it, lifestyle should be considered the best option for controlling symptoms.

“We were particularly interested in the effectiveness of physical activity and this is one of the first studies that has demonstrated its effectiveness in controlling GERD. Being physically active may help with the clearance of stomach acid which causes heartburn symptoms.”

The study’s latest findings were published as a letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.

An early and objective diagnosis of reflux, such as Peptest provides, opens the door to lifestyle changes, and future treatment.
Peptest can also be used after reflux treatments to assess the success or failure of any treatment.
Find out more about Peptest and order your Peptest home testing kit now.