Get to Know GERD

GERD

GERD is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease.  GERD affects almost 30% of adults and is a chronic condition.  GERD can be triggered by many things that we will discuss in this blog.  In order to be diagnosed with GERD you are most likely experiencing these symptoms multiple times a week.   Since GERD is something you experience regularly it therefore is not the same as acid reflux.  Acid reflux causes the same symptoms but may not be experienced on a regular basis.  If GERD is not treated it can lead to erosion of the esophagus and cancer.  The good news is that it can be resolved with lifestyle changes and/or medications.

Signs and symptoms of GERD:

Here is a list of the most common symptoms of GERD.  You don’t have to be experiencing all of these in order to be diagnosed with GERD. The severity of these symptoms can vary as well.

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Belching
  • Chest pain
  • Tooth erosion
  • Burning sensation near sternum
  • Difficulty swallowing

Causes of GERD:

There are many causes of GERD.  It is important to determine the root cause of your acid reflux in order to get the best treatment.  If it is being caused by eating trigger foods then just eliminating those foods can completely resolve the symptoms. If over eating is the issue then having more portion control can also resolve these symptoms without having to take medications or chewables.

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Smoking
  • Over eating
  • Eating foods you are allergic or sensitive to
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Eating foods that trigger GERD
  • Increased acid production in stomach
  • Eating too close to bedtime
  • Taking medications that loosen your lower esophageal sphincter:  some calcium channel blockers, some pain medications, sedatives
  • Alcohol intake

foods to avoid GERD

GERD Trigger Foods:

There are certain foods that are known to increase the acid production in your stomach.  If you are sensitive to these foods then the symptoms of GERD will occur soon after ingesting them.

  • Tomatoes
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • High fat foods
  • Greasy and/or salty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Peppermint
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Citrus foods

portion control

Ways to reduce occurrence of GERD:

  • Weight loss
  • Smoking cessation
  • Stop eating at least 1 hour before going to bed
  • Decrease portion size of meals
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Do not wear restrictive clothing
  • Avoid GERD trigger foods
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day

We hope this has helped you learn more about GERD and how to reduce your symptoms.  Make an appointment with us if you feel like you want more in depth information on how to control your GERD symptoms.