Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - Topic Overview
For mild symptoms of GERD, you
can try over-the-counter medicines. These include antacids (for example, Tums),
H2 blockers (for example, Pepcid), and proton pump inhibitors (for example,
Prilosec). Changing your diet, losing weight if needed, and making other
lifestyle changes can also help. If you still have symptoms after trying
lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if medicine doesn't work or if you
can't take medicine because of the side effects. Fundoplication
surgery strengthens the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. But many
people continue to need some medicine even after surgery.
common in pregnant women. Lifestyle changes and antacids are usually tried
first to treat pregnant women who have GERD. Antacids are safe to use for
heartburn symptoms during pregnancy. If lifestyle changes and antacids don't
help control your symptoms, talk to your doctor about using other medicines.
Most of the time, symptoms get better after the baby is born.
You may need to take medicine for many
years to help control the symptoms. But you can also make changes to your lifestyle
to help relieve your symptoms of GERD. Here are some things to try:
- Change your eating habits.
- It's best to eat several small meals
instead of two or three large meals.
- After you eat, wait 2 to 3
hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren't a good
- Chocolate, mint, and alcohol can make GERD worse. They relax
the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
- Spicy foods, foods
that have a lot of acid (like tomatoes and oranges), and coffee can make GERD
symptoms worse in some people. If your symptoms are worse after you eat a
certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
you get heartburn at night, raise the head of your bed
6 in. (15 cm) to
8 in. (20 cm) by putting the
frame on blocks or placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress.
(Adding extra pillows doesn't work.)
- Don't wear tight clothing
around your middle.
- Lose weight if you need to. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can