TEMECULA – Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a painful condition in which stomach acid flows up the esophagus and into the mouth. Sometimes called dyspepsia, acid reflux or heartburn, GERD can generate a fiery sensation in the chest and throat that can range from mild to severe.
GERD can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. In the United States, approximately 20 percent of the population has GERD, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Five million Canadians experience heartburn or acid regurgitation at least once each week, according to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation.
In many mild to moderate cases of reflux, individuals can rely on lifestyle changes and natural remedies to prevent symptoms.
First, avoid food triggers. Certain foods and beverages, such as greasy or spicy recipes and alcoholic beverages, can make GERD symptoms strike. Acidic foods, chocolate, onions, carbonated beverages, and caffeinated beverages also may trigger GERD.
Fasting before bedtime can help. Avoid eating food and consuming beverages two to three hours before bedtime.
Lose weight. According to the Center for Esophageal Motility Disorders at Vanderbilt University, obesity is the leading cause of GERD. Extra stomach fat puts pressure on the abdomen, pushing gastric acids into the esophagus. Losing weight can reduce this pressure.
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