Background: Gastro-oesophageal reflux is worse after meals, and antacids are usually consumed after dietary indiscretion.
Aim: To investigate whether walking or gum chewing affect meal-induced gastro-oesophageal reflux.
Methods: The study population comprised 12 case subjects with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and 24 healthy controls. Each subject was studied using pH-metry for 5 h on 3 separate days. After baseline recording of pH for 1 h, all subjects were fed a standard breakfast over a 20-min period. On one of the days, oesophageal pH was recorded after the 20-min eating period for an additional 4 h in the sitting position. On another day, postprandial oesophageal pH was recorded for the first hour whilst walking, and for 3 subsequent hours whilst sitting. During a third day, oesophageal pH was recorded for the first postprandial hour whilst gum-chewing, followed by 3 h of sitting.
Results: Food intake promoted gastro-oesophageal reflux in case subjects with GERD as well as in healthy controls, although postprandial reflux was more pronounced amongst the refluxers than amongst the controls. Chewing gum for 1 h after the meal reduced the acid contact time in both groups, with a more profound effect in refluxers than in controls. Whilst the beneficial effect of 1-h of gum-chewing lasted for up to 3 h in both groups, the beneficial effect of 1-h of walking was apparent only in refluxers, only to a mild degree, and only for a short duration.
Conclusions: Chewing gum after a meal helps to reduce postprandial oesophageal acid exposure.