Without treatment, GERD can lead to severe health problems, such as Barrett’s esophagus. In this condition, the cells lining the food pipe become abnormal and have the potential in some people to develop into cancer.
If this is the case, it is often possible to find relief by elevating the head while sleeping and avoiding eating eat least 2 hours before going to bed. When a person swallows, food passes down the food pipe to the stomach. A ring of muscle tissue called the lower esophageal sphincter contracts after allowing food into the stomach. This prevents the food from returning into the food pipe. Research also suggests that foods high in fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.
Frequent or constant reflux can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). And heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus – the tube that connects the throat and stomach.
Normally the LES closes to prevent food in the stomach from moving up into the esophagus. Many different medications can trigger heartburn, or make heartburn worse. An aspirin here or there is not likely to lead to that fiery feeling. But regular use of aspirin or a popular class of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may irritate the esophagus. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription Cox-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex.
Also, try snacking on pineapple, which can act as a digestive enzyme. After dinner, we know itâ€™s tempting to lie on the couch and watch Netflix, but try going on a walk to ease your heartburn. In terms of medications, itâ€™s considered safe to take Tums, Gaviscon or Ranitidine (Zantac), but itâ€™s a good idea to talk to your health care provider before taking any medication. Hormonal changes in pregnancy cause the valve between your esophagus and stomach to relax, allowing acid to escape up to your throat, explains Amanda Selk, an OB/GYN at Womenâ€™s College Hospital in Toronto. â€œIn addition, as the uterus grows, there is more pressure on your stomach, which can also cause the stomach acid to back up,â€ she says.
Especially good are cantaloupe and honeydew melon. If you are overweight or obese, it is important to lose weight safely and steadily through regular exercise and by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Read advice on losing weight.
Finding the lowest dose of the medicine that keeps you well is a wise strategy. You may be able to have breaks between courses of tablets and just take your treatment when you feel worse. If you are being offered an endoscopy you should check that your doctor has first ruled out Helicobacter pylori infection or other mild conditions as the cause of your indigestion. If this is the case, then the doctors may feel that it is safest to check that you do not have a more serious condition which may only be picked up via endoscopy. The final decision is always up to you, but it is worth considering that if you have a serious problem behind your indigestion a few minutes of discomfort during endoscopy can prevent you from having more invasive treatment in the future as well as giving you a better chance of a full recovery.
When you swallow food, it travels down the oesophagus, and passes through a ring of muscle called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS), into the stomach. The job of the LOS is to control what gets in to the stomach, and to prevent the stomach contents from getting back out again. If you suspect that foods may trigger or worsen your symptoms of GERD, try keeping a one week daily diary. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles.
Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached. One reason this happens is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened or damaged.