Posts for tag: GERD
You hear a lot about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) these days – and for good reason.
GERD affects up to 1 in 5 or more adults in the U.S.; not to mention a growing number of children.
While there’s increased recognition of the acronym “GERD,” there’s still a lot of confusion about the cause and effects of the disease. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to explain what GERD is, and the symptoms to watch for.
First: What exactly is GERD?
GERD occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach– your esophagus. The medical term for this “backwash” is “acid reflux,” which can irritate the lining of your esophagus. Reflux becomes a disease when it causes frequent or severe symptoms or damage. Left untreated, it can lead to pain, chronic irritation of the lining leading to cellular changes, chronic cough, and other issues.
While GERD can affect nearly anyone at any age, certain conditions can increase your risk for GERD, including:
- Bulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (i.e., hiatal hernia)
- Delayed stomach emptying
What symptoms should you watch out for?
Chronic heartburn is most commonly associated with GERD. But many people don’t realize there are several other symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored. For example, some people may experience one or a combination of the following:
- Inflammation of the gums
- Hoarseness in the morning
- Bad breath
- Erosion of teeth enamel
If you have nighttime acid reflux associated with GERD, you might experience:
- Chronic coughing
- New or worsening asthma
- Disrupted sleep
Nighttime reflux is often associated with more aggressive symptoms of GERD. You can learn more about sleep and GERD here.
If you experience any of the GERD symptoms above, it’s important to talk with a gastroenterologist sooner rather than later. Often, GERD can be managed by lifestyle changes and medication. Call us at 877-442-7736 or request an appointment online.
Enjoy the “wow” without the “ow”
A GERD diagnosis doesn’t mean your foodie life is over. There are plenty of foods to enjoy while minimizing your risk for aggravating your GERD. A few tips to keep in mind, regardless of what you eat, is how you eat. For example, avoiding large, late meals will do you a world of good. Try to allow at least 3 hours between your last meal or snack and bedtime. Taking a short walk after eating will help stimulate digestion and keep the system moving.
Don’t forget that not all foods trigger all people. It’s smart to keep a food journal. You may feel better if you avoid a lot of caffeine, carbonated beverages, chocolate, alcohol, citrus and tomato products, and fatty foods. That’s not to say that you can never have these things, just be smart and consume in moderation.
If this sounds like a lot of hassle, take heart: GERD diets can be user-friendly and delicious. We’ve collected some of our top recommendations for you to help make the best—and tastiest—GERD diet choices.
1. Fruits and Vegetables, Even Potatoes
Avoid citrus and citrus juices, but open your table to a smorgasbord of others. Go for fresh, in-season stock and make sure they are prepared perfectly. For example, it’s hard to get excited about a can of asparagus, but roasted with a bit of olive oil and sea salt? Take a new approach with the classics and your taste buds may thank you.
Eggs have plenty of protein and are super versatile. Have them scrambled, in a frittata, or make yourself an omelet. Skip the onions but add other GERD diet-friendly add-ins such as low-fat cheese, mild turkey sausage, spinach, zucchini, or whatever the fridge has in store for you. Using a non-stick pan will help you reduce the oil you’ll need to prepare this breakfast of champions.
3. Fish and Lean Meat
If you are a meat eater, carry on! Just be sure to go for lean cuts. Skip frying and poach, grill, broil, or bake your fish or lean meat and your heart will thank you too.
A good GERD diet can include complex carbohydrates. Oatmeal, whole grain bread, rice, and couscous are good sources of healthy complex carbs. Bonus: whole grains and brown rice add fiber to your diet and help keep your digestive system on track.
If you are not sure how to put this all together, we recommend visiting our GERD education page where you will find resources including a video, other lifestyle modifications for alleviating symptoms, and a GERD assessment.
At GI Associates, we can help you manage your GERD so you can live a more comfortable life. Give us a call at 877-442-7762 to make an appointment today.
What it's like to live with GERD and what you can do
For some, it’s impossible to not be aware of GERD, a condition in which stomach acids travel back up into the esophagus, causing pain, irritation, and damage.
This year, GERD Awareness Week is November 18th - 25th. You can learn more about activities and events you can be a part of by visiting this website.
What is GERD?
Every time you swallow food, your stomach produces acid to aid in digestion. In a healthy gastrointestinal system, a valve opens to allow food and liquid to pass from the esophagus to your stomach. In those with GERD, the valve may not close fully or may open too often. While everyone will probably experience heartburn at some point during their lifetime, if you have GERD you will likely deal with it persistently. Everybody is different when it comes to symptoms, but common ones include:
- Sore throat
- Problems swallowing
- A sour or bitter taste in the mouth
GERD and the holidays
With the holidays approaching, minds have no doubt turned to food and all the feasting that takes place during this most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, 60% of Americans experience GERD at least once a year—and the most common time of year GERD develops is (you guessed it) the holidays.
The following is a list of foods you may want to avoid if you are prone to GERD:
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus
- Coffee or any caffeinated beverage
- Carbonated beverages
Basic lifestyle changes can help to manage or even avoid GERD altogether. Exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and losing excess weight are always a good idea.
Timing and quantity of meals makes a difference too. Try eating five or six little meals instead of three huge ones. Avoid eating 2-3 hours before going to bed or lying down. Keep upright and let your digestive system do its thing—and skip the post-feast nap. Your stomach and esophagus will thank you.
Unfortunately for some, GERD symptoms persist past the holidays despite medication and lifestyle changes. If this applies to you, surgical options may be considered. Ask your gastroenterologist about the best plan for you.
If you have suffered from reflux over an extended period of time, endoscopic evaluation of the lining of your esophagus may be recommended to evaluate for Barrett’s Esophagus, a precancerous condition which can develop into esophageal cancer. Careful monitoring and periodic evaluation help with early detection and prevention of this form of cancer.
If you think you may have GERD, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you get ahead of this problem so you can focus on the enjoyment of the holidays, not the pain of GERD. Schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at GI Associates by calling 877-442-7762 or using our online form.
Find out if your heartburn could actually be due to gastroesophageal reflux disease.
A lot of people describe having occasional bouts of heartburn or acid reflux. You may notice it after eating particular foods. You may experience it if you eat right before bedtime. If you are dealing with these symptoms a couple times a week or if they are affecting your quality of life then it may be time to turn to one of our gastroenterologists to learn more.
What is GERD?
Every time you swallow food your stomach produces acid to aid in digestion. In a healthy gastrointestinal system, a valve opens to allow food and liquid to pass from the esophagus to your stomach. In those with GERD, the valve may not close fully or may open too often, which can cause stomach acids to travel back up into the esophagus. If this happens regularly, the lining of the esophagus can become irritated and even damaged.
What are the symptoms?
While everyone will probably experience heartburn at some point during their lifetime, if you have GERD you will likely deal with frequent or persistent heartburn. Everybody is different when it comes to their symptoms. Other frequent symptoms of GERD include:
- Sore throat
- Problems swallowing
- Chronic bad breath
- A sour or bitter taste in the mouth
When should I see a gastroenterologist?
It isn’t always easy to know when it’s time to visit the specialists at GI Associates. Of course, if you’ve been dealing with heartburn that occurs two or more times during the week, if your heartburn is getting worse, if you have trouble swallowing or if heartburn wakes you up at night then it’s important that you get your symptoms evaluated.
How is GERD treated?
The goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms and you’re your esophagus a chance to heal. You may need to make be lifestyle changes such as changing what and when you eat, sleep positioning and potentially weight loss if obesity is a factor.
Certain medications may also be prescribed to help you manage your symptoms and to help repair the damage done to the esophagus. Surgery is only recommended when all other treatment options have failed.
Are you dealing with nagging, gnawing heartburn that just doesn’t seem to go away? If so, then it’s time you turned to the experts at GI Associates in Wausau, Stevens Point, Woodruff, Eagle River, Rhinelander and Antigo, WI, to get the answers and treatment you need.
Probably most people in Central Wisconsin have suffered heartburn or indigestion at one time or another. But if you have it constantly, or it seems to be getting worse, you may need to talk to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in conditions related to the stomach and digestive tract, at GastroIntestinal Associates, SC.
Your heartburn may not be just heartburn – it may be Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – a much more serious condition.
GERD is a condition that affects many people each year. GERD is caused when digestive acids in your stomach flow back into your esophagus, causing burning and irritation. This is called acid reflux, and it happens to nearly everyone once in a while. However, if it happens more than twice a week or becomes debilitating, your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. Left untreated, GERD can cause damage to the lining of your esophagus and possibly lead to other more serious conditions such as Barrett’s, cancer or strictures.
Symptoms of GERD include but are not limited to:
- Heartburn/chest pain
- Sour taste in your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or liquid
- Feeling of a lump in your throat
It is important to note that if you are having severe chest pain, especially if it is accompanied with shortness of breath, jaw pain or arm pain, you should contact a doctor immediately – these are also signs of a heart attack.
Most of the time, GERD can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of both. In many cases, GERD can be controlled simply by simple diet changes and over-the-counter antacids. However, if it becomes serious, your gastroenterologist will probably prescribe stronger medications for it.
Certain foods may trigger GERD. As each person is different, only you will know which foods cause you problems. However, food and drink are not the only triggers of GERD. Other potential triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes
- Hiatal hernia
Your gastroenterologist will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.
If you are looking for a qualified gastroenterologist contact GastroIntestinal Associates, SC, at (715) 847-2558 we have clinic locations in Wausau, Stevens Point, Antigo, Rhinelander, Woodruff and Eagle River.