Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Diet and Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common disorder in which stomach acid or bile flows up into the esophagus and irritates the lining, causing heartburn. Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication can provide some relief, but serious cases may require more extensive treatment.
Causes and Symptoms of GERD
Certain patients are at a higher risk of suffering from GERD, including patients who are overweight or obese, women who are pregnant, and smokers. There are a variety of causes of acid reflux:
- Eating a large or heavy meal
- Bending over or lying on your back after a meal, particularly a large meal
- Snacking just before bedtime
- Eating spicy foods, fatty foods, and highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, mint, garlic, and onions
- Drinking alcohol, carbonated beverages, coffee, or tea
- Taking certain medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or blood pressure medication
The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn, which is a burning sensation that moves from the stomach or abdomen to the chest or throat. Other acid reflux symptoms include:
- A sour or bitter acidic taste at the back of the throat
- Feeling bloated or belching frequently
- The sensation of food being stuck in the throat
- Frequent hiccups
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Wheezing, a dry cough, or a chronic sore throat
Image: Healthy stomach versus GERD stomach Serious cases of GERD may require more extensive treatment from one of our specialists.
Home Remedies for GERD
In most cases of mild to moderate GERD, changes in your diet and lifestyle, combined with over-the-counter medications, can dramatically reduce symptoms. Dietary changes may include:
- Reducing or completely removing acidic foods from your diet
- Eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day
- Avoiding eating anything in the two to three hours before you go to bed
We are committed to alleviating painful symptoms and effectively treating acid reflux so that you can enjoy a restored quality of life.
Changes to your lifestyle can also reduce the symptoms of GERD. Lifestyle changes may include:
- Quitting smoking
- If you are overweight or obese, taking the appropriate steps to safely lose weight
- Incorporating light exercise into your daily routine
- Elevating your head while you sleep
- Avoiding tight clothing
- Asking your doctor about any medications that could potentially cause heartburn and acid reflux
In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, many patients find relief through the use of over-the-counter antacids. Antacids can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of mild to moderate GERD, especially when combined with diet and lifestyle changes.
When selecting an over-the-counter antacid, it is best to choose a type that contains magnesium and aluminum hydroxide, in order to avoid gastrointestinal side effects like constipation or diarrhea.
When to Seek Further Treatment
If you have successfully implemented dietary and lifestyle changes, and utilized antacids, but you aren’t seeing any improvement, you should contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Weiss. In many cases, a stronger prescription medication can treat GERD by either preventing reflux or reducing the production of acid. If prescription medication proves to be ineffective, Dr. Weiss may recommend surgery. Most patients, however, experience long-term relief with prescription medication.
Schedule Your Appointment
If diet and lifestyle changes and over-the-counter antacids have been ineffective in reducing your symptoms of GERD, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Weiss. We are committed to alleviating painful symptoms and effectively treating acid reflux so that you can enjoy a restored quality of life.
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