National GERD Awareness Week!

There are so many things that come to mind when we hear the word “Thanksgiving”…friends, family, food, football, shopping, relaxing. But if you suffer with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), other not-so-pleasant things may be first on your mind. Heartburn after a large meal affects many people, but if you experience it 2-3 times per week, you could be dealing with GERD.

Heartburn or reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach — which may include food, liquid, bile (a digestive liquid) and acid — move up from the stomach into the esophagus. The acid causes a burning sensation.

On a day when food is the star of the show, how can you control your symptoms and feel well enough to enjoy the holiday weekend? There are several precautions you can take, and now is the time to start planning!

Know Your Triggers – If you know what types of foods normally give you problems, you are ahead of the game. Avoid them at Thanksgiving, and if you are preparing a portion of the meal, cater to your needs. Bring a dish that you know is safe. Common triggers for reflux include fatty foods, citrus, spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, caffeine and raw onions.

Steer Clear Of Alcohol – Alcohol is a known irritant for those who suffer with reflux because it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. Just do yourself a favor and stick with water or unsweetened, decaf tea.

Watch Those Portions – Even if you avoid all of your triggers, stuffing yourself is a recipe for disaster when it comes to reflux. Small portions will keep you feeling good after the big meal!

Walk Instead of Nap – After the dishes are done, it may be tempting to recline and watch a little football. Resist this urge! Lying down after a big meal is more opportunity for acids to move into the esophagus. Instead of a nap, take a walk to help the digestion process.

People with GERD can enjoy the holidays! Just take precautions with your food and enjoy time with friends and family. If you have concerns or think you may have GERD, the doctors at TDDC are always here to help you manage your symptoms. Don’t suffer in silence – contact us  at one of our convenient locations!