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Healthy Her | Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Healthy Her | Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Acid reflux occurs when your stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and throat causing indigestion or heartburn. However, acid reflux or heartburn on its own isn’t a disease. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is when you experience chronic reflux causing severe symptoms and even injury.

GERD is diagnosed by specialized physicians called gastroenterologists. Using your medical history and diagnostic testing they will develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Treatment for GERD focuses on protecting the esophageal lining by decreasing the stomach acid or coating the lining with something to protect it from excess stomach acid. Common treatments can include medications, endoscopic therapy, surgery, lifestyle and dietary changes.

Dr. Dusty Smith, general surgeon, shares "For women with Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, surgical anti-reflux procedures can be a safe alternative to long-term treatment with medication or failed control of symptoms with medication. The negative effects of persistent reflux to the esophagus and potential side effects from long-term use of medication can be indications to consider surgical intervention."

If you are experiencing frequent acid reflux, here are some helpful tips to improve your lifestyle and diet.


  • Fatty and fried foods, which linger longer in the stomach, making it more likely that stomach acid leaks back up into the esophagus, causing uncomfortable GERD symptoms.
  • Spicy foods, citrus, tomato sauces, and vinegar, which may intensify heartburn.
  • Chocolate, caffeine, onions, peppermint, carbonated drinks, and alcohol, which are all common heartburn triggers.


  • Stay sitting up at least 30 minutes after eating to aid with digestion
  • Sleeping with the upper body in an elevated position helps gravity keep the stomach acid down in the stomach
  • Smoking cessation
  • Avoiding large meals, or adjusting portion sizes
  • Weight loss can also be beneficial

Find a gastroenterologist near you at