It’s GERD Awareness Week

3 months 2 days ago
Posted under Side Effect Management

It’s no coincidence that GERD Awareness Week is the same week as Thanksgiving. Many of the habits leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD occur during this festive holiday of overeating. Not only can GERD cause digestive symptoms such as heartburn but it can also cause ENT and respiratory problems including sore throat, cough and hoarseness. Not everyone will experience the same or any symptoms. This common condition can be more serious than just feeling uncomfortable. Frequent and/or long term reflux of stomach acid into your esophagus can also increase your risk for esophageal cancer.

Here are 10 tips to reduce GERD symptoms at the holidays:

1. Wear loose clothes that aren’t too tight around your belly.

2. Sit up straight when eating.

3. Eat smaller portions at each meal but eat more often throughout the day.

4. Chew your food well. Be mindful of each bite and savor the flavor 

5. Eat slowly and stop when you’re full. Gorging isn’t good for anyone’s digestive system.

6. If you do go back for seconds, take a pause first. Give your digestive system a chance to do its job.

7. Go easy on the reflux causing foods such as fatty and/or fried foods, chocolate, mint, caffeine, tomatoes, carbonated drinks and alcohol.

8. Get up and walk around after eating.

9. Avoid lying down or going to sleep for 2-3 hours after meals.

10. Don’t just pop an antacid every time you have heartburn or indigestion. Talk with your doctor about your GERD symptoms.

Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving. Be kind to your digestive system this holiday, or it may seek revenge on you later. See more tips for managing reflux, heartburn and GERD.

Resources:

15 Tips to Manage your Symptoms this Holiday

American College of Gastroenterology

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)

Esophageal Cancer Action Network

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)

The 18th Annual GERD Awareness Week is November 19-25, 2017.

Gwen Spector, RN, BSN, COCN, CCP