Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Also indexed as:Acid Reflux, GERD, Reflux
Put a freeze on frequent heartburn. Find out if GERD may be causing that uncomfortable burning sensation, then care for the symptoms. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.

To help keep you in top health, our experts recommend these steps:

  • Identify irritants. For those with occasional heartburn, simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help prevent and manage individual reflux episodes. Some people find that avoiding certain triggers, such as lying down immediately after eating, spicy foods, mint flavors, raw garlic, and chocolate can prevent heartburn. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Visit the vitamin aisle. Some people require medications to manage GERD, but for others, a smart supplement choice can bring quick relief from occasional heartburn issues. Chewable DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) supplements are one option. Select Vitamins, above, for more information.
  • Lose weight, lose the burn. Being overweight or obese, especially if those extra pounds are carried in your midsection, significantly increases GERD risk. Weight loss can bring enough relief to allow less use of medications for some. Select Eating Right and Medicines, above, for more information.
  • Butt out. Smoking significantly increases GERD risk, and can worsen each episode of heartburn. Quitting may be difficult, so consider over-the-counter and prescription products to increase your chances of success. Select Personal Care, above, for more information on smoking cessation products.

Our experts recommend the following top tips to help tame the fire in your tummy:

  • Make the most of your meals. Even if you take medication to manage chronic GERD, diet is an important component of your heartburn prevention routine. For example, a low-fat diet is one option for reducing GERD, and may help you need less medication over time. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Supplement suitably. If you are taking medications to manage GERD, talk to your doctor, dietitian, or pharmacist about whether you need any dietary supplements, as some GERD medications reduce absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Select Medicines, above, for more drug-nutrient interactions and other safety information.
  • Mind your medications. If you’ve been prescribed GERD medications, take them exactly as directed. If you are having unpleasant side effects, tell your doctor right away, so you can work together to find better options, so you do not have to suffer in silence. Select Medicines, above, for more information about medications commonly prescribed to manage GERD.
  • Butt out. Smoking significantly increases GERD risk, and can worsen each episode of heartburn. Quitting may be difficult, so consider over-the-counter and prescription products to increase your chances of success. Select Personal Care, above, for more information on smoking cessation products.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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