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Losing Weight May Ease Chronic Heartburn

Study found shedding pounds reduced GERD symptoms among overweight, obese patients

continued...

One expert said the study had some strengths.

To start with, a relatively large number of people were studied, said Dr. Lauren Gerson, an associate professor of medicine and gastroenterology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Besides just asking patients to report symptoms, she said, "it would be useful to have pH studies [done to evaluate GERD] to document improvement in overall pH scores after weight loss."

Even so, she said, the findings echo those of an even larger study, published in 2006, that found that weight gain -- even in those with normal weight -- was linked to new heartburn symptoms and weight reduction was linked to a decline in symptoms.

Whether weight loss can help those with heartburn discontinue reflux medications remains an unanswered question, Gerson said.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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