Acid Reflux, Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Information, Diet Suggestions, and Resources

What is Acid Reflux/ Heartburn/ Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the process of fluid or food, including acid, coming up into the esophagus and causing symptoms or complications. About 5-10% of acid reflux causes heartburn that usually occurs within 30 to 60 minutes of eating. Symptoms of GERD can also include hoarseness, coughing, and difficulty swallowing. Often, the heartburn is worse when bending over or lying down and may be associated with ulcers, sore throat, asthma symptoms like cough, or dental erosions. Obesity is a major factor in acid reflux, but is not always involved. Other risk factors include smoking, eating late at night, and caffeine ingestion. Diet and lifestyle modifications often help manage symptoms, though some people need medication.

The Diet

Patients should eat several small meals throughout the day in a relaxed environment as often as possible and wait 3-4 hours after eating before lying down. Avoid peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and black tea, garlic, onions, and tomato products (in some individuals), foods high in added fats including fried foods, pastries, large amounts of nuts/nut butters, and carbonated beverages. Acidic or spicy foods may be problematic and should be avoided as needed. Foods that make you burp could cause more reflux.

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