Dr. Mansfield
The symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can sometimes be controlled by adopting some simple habits. Dr. Jerman, what can you tell us about treating symptoms of GERD?

Dr. Jerman
Well, Dr. Mansfield, some easy things you can do if you have GERD include:

  • Don't eat or drink items that may cause gastroesophageal reflux, such as greasy or spicy foods, caffeine, chocolate, mint, and alcoholic drinks.
  • Don't overeat.
  • Avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing around the abdomen. Tight clothing can squeeze the stomach area and push acid up into the esophagus.
  • Stay upright for three hours after meals and avoid reclining or slouching. (and)
  • Sleep on a slight angle. Raise the head of your bed six to eight inches by safely putting blocks under the bedposts. Simply using extra pillows will not help.

When lifestyle changes such as these aren't sufficient to reduce symptoms, providers may recommend or prescribe a GERD medication. GERD medications work in different ways, and it may take trying different medications, or using a combination of GERD medications to control symptoms.