What is GERD and how do I address it?

GERD, medically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic digestive disease caused by an irritated esophagus. Usually, GERD is caused by frequent heartburn and acid reflux, the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus. Frequent reflux subjects the esophagus to the strong acid from the stomach, and it can cause the esophagus to become inflamed and irritated. If this continues, the acid and inflammation can wear away the lining of the esophagus, leading to bleeding, esophageal narrowing, or even precancerous esophageal conditions. If you feel that you may be suffering from GERD, seek medical attention from a qualified gastroenterologist.

Symptoms of GERD

Besides frequent heartburn or acid reflux, there are other signs that may indicate GERD problems. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Lump in your throat
  • Dry cough

If you experience a burning chest sensation or regurgitate stomach acid more than twice a week, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. If you do not diagnose and treat GERD, problems will only continue to get worse.

Lifestyle Changes

Most cases of heartburn and acid reflux are triggered by food consumption and, particularly, foods that are highly acidic. Eating the right foods and, more importantly, avoiding the wrong foods, is essential when controlling or reducing acid reflux, and consequentially, GERD. Every person is different and not everyone’s acid reflux is triggered by the same foods. However, there are some common foods known to be more triggering when it comes to acid reflux and GERD:

  • Fried food
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Spicy food
  • Caffeine
  • Mint
  • Alcohol

Changing your diet is a great way to reduce acid reflux and GERD problems. Of course, diet alone may not be enough to treat all of your gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, your gastroenterologist may advise other changes and treatment options to combat your GERD. Some of these may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Elevating the head of your bed
  • No smoking
  • No lying down after a meal
  • Taking over-the-counter antacids or acid blockers
  • Taking prescription medication

Speak to your gastroenterologist to discuss diet and other lifestyle changes that will help you be a healthier you.

Contact Us

If you suffer from frequent acid reflux and suspect that you may be damaging your esophageal lining, contact a gastroenterologist. Dr. Rieders and Dr. Reddy at GastroCare LI have dedicated their professional careers to helping people suffering from gastrointestinal problems. We understand how painful and debilitating these problems can be and we are here to help. To schedule an appointment or learn more about GERD, contact our office at (516) 265-7049 today.