How A Doctor Can Help
If you have heartburn two or more times a week and changes to your diet or eating pattern haven’t helped, consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist can perform tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and see if frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.
GERD is often treatable through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. But persistent symptoms of reflux need thorough evaluation by a gastroenterologist who can find the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.
The Johns Hopkins Heartburn Center
GERD is an ongoing condition that often requires more attention than over-the-counter treatments can offer. The Heartburn Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine provides personalized care to help patients find relief.
Foods That Help Acid Reflux
What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
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How Common Is Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is among the most frequent health complaints of American adults, and may have become even more common in the wake of pandemic-related stress and weight gain. Late last year, pharmacies reported an unprecedented run on antacids by people described as having a pandemic stomach, leaving those with serious ailments that required such products often out of luck.
Even before the pandemic, an online survey from 2019 of more than 71,000 adults found that nearly a third reported that they were affected at least weekly by the discomforting symptoms of acid reflux, in which a small amount of stomach contents reverses course and backs up into the esophagus.
How Does Acid Reflux Start
As we age our muscles lose tone and start to function less effectively. This is relevant because there is a muscular ring, known as the lower oesophageal sphincter , which separates our stomach from our oesophagus. The role of this muscle is to act as a one-way gate allowing the flow of food down the gullet and into the stomach. However, as our muscle tone weakens, the sphincter becomes less effective at doing this job and as a result, we may experience reflux.
Our dietary habits may also make us more prone to the condition. An interesting study assessing diet suggests people who eat only one or two meals a day, or drink peppermint tea daily, or eat one big meal in the evening , may be at greater risk of developing the condition as they age. In addition to this, some experts believe that a condition known as a hiatus hernia may promote reflux.
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When To Visit Your Doctor
Some people find relief on their own, without needing to see a doctor. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux two or more times per week, however, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment as this can indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, who can perform tests such as:
- Barium X-rays: You drink a barium solution and then your doctor takes X-rays of your upper digestive tract
- Endoscopy: Your doctor inserts a camera into your esophagus to examine the tissue and take a small biopsy if necessary
- Biopsy: Your doctor takes a small sample of tissue from your esophagus to examine under a microscope
- Monitoring your pH levels: Your doctor monitors the acidity of your stomach
Seeking treatment for chronic acid reflux is important. Untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to cancer of your esophagus. Other complications of untreated gastroesophageal reflux include:
- Inflammation in your esophagus
- Permanent changes to the lining of your esophagus
- Chronic cough or breathing issues such as asthma
- Dental issues such as enamel erosion, cavities, and gum disease
Symptoms of acid reflux can also mimic symptoms of other serious conditions, such as:
Foods That Make Acid Reflux Worse
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Cooking Tips To Prevent Heartburn And Indigestion
If you suffer from heartburn, you can use different cooking approaches, which may help to alleviate stomach problems including acid reflux.
- Try cooking with as little fat as possible.
- Skip deep frying and pan frying.
- If youre going to sauté, use non-stick sprays as opposed to butter.
- Broiling, steaming, boiling, grilling and roasting are healthier ways to cook meats and veggies because they dont require high levels of fat.
- To get flavor into your food, use heartburn friendly spices as well as broths and low-acid juices instead of oils, which are high in fat.
In addition to eating heartburn-friendly foods and cooking with less fat, it is important to remember that eating large meals and eating before going to bed are likely to increase heartburn. Be sure to pay attention to portion control and timing of meals to avoid indigestion.
Fight Heartburn With Healthy Food
Add the right foods to your diet. They could really help with your heartburn. But there are limits to what they can do.
Remember that good foods can’t counteract the effects of trigger foods. “Eating a little ginger won’t stop you from getting heartburn after a big dinner of a fatty steak, a salad with tomatoes, a couple of glasses of wine, and a coffee,” Kuemmerle says.
And while eating a low-acid diet is a good strategy, it may not be enough on its own. For some people it’s not so much the acids in the stomach, but the reflux of other stuff in gastric juices — like bile — that trigger heartburn, he says.
“The specific causes of heartburn vary a lot from person to person,” Kuemmerle says. “That’s why treatment always needs a personalized approach.”
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Diet Changes For Gerd
Proper treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease always begins with a visit to a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis. It is important to recognize that chronic reflux does not get better on its own. Over-the-counter remedies may provide short-term symptom relief, but can mask an underlying disease if used long-term.
Symptoms of GERD
Just about everyone has had heartburn that uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest after eating a heavy meal at some point in their life. But, while occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, heartburn that occurs more than once a week, becomes more severe, or occurs at night and wakes you from sleep may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease . And, a visit to the doctor is advised.
Treatment for GERD may include medications advised by your doctor and certain diet and lifestyle changes. A combination of approaches, and some trial and error, may be necessary.
Diet and lifestyle changes often begin with what to avoid. These include things that can trigger or worsen symptoms.
Examples of things to reduce or steer clear of in your diet include:
- High fat foods
- Citrus and tomato products
While no proven GERD diet exists, the following foods may help you ease or avoid symptoms.
How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
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Holistic Dietary Strategies For Gerd
A comprehensive GERD treatment plan must consider additional factors beyond basic dietary changes.
For many people with digestive issues, restoring balance to the bacterial flora in the intestines may be beneficial. Eating fermented and pre-biotic foods might help to achieve this.
People call the bacteria in these foods probiotics. Probiotics may reduce digestive issues by balancing the digestive system as a whole. Prebiotics are foods that are rich in fibers that selectively grow beneficial bacteria.
Foods that contain natural probiotics include:
Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
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Apples To Reduce Heartburn
Banana is not the only fruit that helps you with heartburn. The nutritious and tasty apples to come to your help when its about getting rid of heartburn. Apples can in fact, even reduce the symptoms of GERD, the chronic heartburn. This is because apple helps in producing an alkaline environment in your stomach so that the excessive acids get neutralized. This also helps in better digestion which is again a key to no heartburn. Not only does apple cure but also prevent heartburn. However, you need to eat sweet apples, preferably those that are organic. Tart apples wont do any wonders.
Ways to have Apples to Avoid Heartburn
Some apples may give you instant and better relief from heartburn than others. Therefore, keep on changing the varieties of apples to find out the one that is most soothing for your condition.
Best Foods To Eat When You Have Heartburn
The foods you eat affect how much acid is produced by the stomach. So, it is necessary to consume the right combination of food items and drinks so that you donât experience heartburn. You should eat foods that have low-acid content because the acid in the stomach combined with the acid in food can make the condition worse. Here is a list of the best foods to eat when you have heartburn.
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Foods That Alleviate Heartburn
Many people experience occasional heartburn or acid reflux. Heartburn is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, and itâs often caused by what you eat. Thankfully, there are certain foods that are known to reduce or relieve heartburn.
Keep reading for eight foods that can improve and ease your heartburn.
Foods That May Help Reduce Your Symptoms
Reflux symptoms may result from stomach acid touching the esophagus and causing irritation and pain. If you have too much acid, you can incorporate these specific foods into your diet to manage symptoms of acid reflux.
None of these foods will cure your condition, and your decision to use these specific foods to soothe your symptoms should be based on your own experiences with them.
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Top 10 Heartburn Foods
Making changes to your diet is a great way to help ease heartburn. You can start by avoiding foods that are likely to worsen your symptoms and then add in other nutritious foods. There are no specific diets for acid reflux, but these top 10 heartburn foods might help:
High fiber foods keep you feeling full for longer. This can stop you from overeating, which might trigger heartburn. Fiber-rich diets have also been linked to lower acid reflux risk. Eating whole grains like oatmeal and whole grain rice can help.
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes are great sources of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Try roasting, grilling, or broiling sweet potatoes with other root vegetables like beets and carrots. Roasting brings out sweeter flavors and avoids frying, which can trigger heartburn. Make sure to leave out the garlic and onions, which can be irritating.
Ginger is well known for its soothing digestive effects. It can help with gas, nausea, and bloating, and its anti-inflammatory, which can help soothe an irritated digestive system. If you normally enjoy coffee, try switching to ginger tea. You can add a slice of fresh ginger to a mug of hot water.
Fruits are part of a healthy diet, but citrus fruits can trigger heartburn. Instead, focus on eating watery fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Extra water can help dilute stomach acid and ease your symptoms.
Avoid Spicy Foods And Keep Some Dazzle In Your Diet With Low
The fiery feeling of heartburn is the last way you want to remember a great meal. But when your doctor says you have chronic heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease , you may worry that a bland and disappointing menu is in your future. “That may not be true,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “The foods that trigger heartburn are different for everyone.” He suggests keeping a journal to determine which foods cause symptoms.
Some foods and ingredients may intensify heartburn, such as spicy foods, citrus, tomato sauces, and vinegar.
Fatty and fried foods linger longer in the stomach. That may increase stomach pressure and force open the muscles that keep stomach acid out of the esophagus.
Other common heartburn triggers include chocolate, caffeine, onions, peppermint, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
What Are The Food Triggers For Acid Reflux
A food diary is an invaluable tool for working out the foods which act as your triggers record what and when you eat and drink, what activities you were involved in after eating and what symptoms you experienced. Keeping a journal or using an app or tracker for at least a week can help identify your personal food triggers.
Typical culprits can be divided into three categories:
- Foods which are acidic in nature and cause irritation to the lining of the oesophagus such as tomatoes, onions and citrus fruits, as well as spices.
- Food and drinks which cause the stomach to distend, including carbonated drinks and large, calorie-dense meals.
- Foods which promote relaxation of the LES including caffeinated drinks like coffee, chocolate, mint, alcohol, fatty and fried foods as well as carb-rich meals.
Eating any of these foods late in the evening whether as a full meal or substantial snack may also aggravate symptoms.