Common GERD Triggers to Avoid

Most people experience an occasional bout of acid reflux, commonly called heartburn. But chronic reflux is a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and it’s anything but occasional.

GERD causes a frequent backflow of stomach acid into your esophagus. You may experience chest pain, heartburn, and the unpleasant regurgitation of food or liquid regularly.

GERD can also cause long-term damage to your body, including the formation of scar tissue in the esophagus. Some people develop Barrett’s esophagus as a result of GERD. This condition is characterized by cancerous changes to the esophageal lining.

At GastroDoxs, Dr. Bharat Pothuri helps men and women in the greater Houston area minimize their symptoms of GERD with medications and lifestyle changes. He can help you identify common triggers for reflux so you’re able to eat, drink, and sleep comfortably. Everyone is different, but some of the common triggers to avoid include:

Certain foods and beverages

Spicy foods, such as salsa, chili, curry, and hot sauce, can aggravate your GERD symptoms, as can garlic and onions. Avoid fatty meals, such as greasy cuts of meat, fried foods, and fast food, too. The acidic nature of tomato-based dishes such as spaghetti sauce or pizza, as well as the acid in citrus fruit may also exacerbate GERD. Chocolate is another acidic food that can be a trigger.

Your morning cup of coffee, refreshing carbonated drinks, and alcohol are other triggers to avoid. Mint, even if you’re just using it to cleanse your palate, may also irritate your digestive tract. 

Large meals

Avoid overstuffing yourself with large meals. The food takes longer to digest, which means your stomach has more time to regurgitate acid and food into your esophagus. If you eat this large meal within an hour or two of bedtime, much will remain undigested and cause reflux symptoms when you go down for the night.

Late-night snacking

Lying down soon after you eat triggers GERD symptoms. Even if you have just a snack, you may pay for it with chest pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Plan your meals for early evening and walk afterwards to help encourage digestion.

Pain medicine and blood pressure medication

Certain over-the-counter medications, including ibuprofen and aspirin, irritate your stomach and contribute to GERD symptoms. Ask Dr. Pothuri for recommendations as to which pain medications are less likely to irritate your condition. 

Certain blood pressure medications are known to cause reflux, so let us know what you’re taking so we can possibly offer alternative medications that may be gentler on your stomach. 

Smoking

Smoking damages mucus membranes and increases the secretion of stomach acid. As a result, you experience more severe GERD symptoms. Smoking also reduces your salivation, which is essential in neutralizing stomach acid. Ask us about how to quit smoking -- it’s good for your overall health.

Avoiding these triggers can reduce instances of GERD, but won’t necessarily cure the condition. If you find you’re still suffering from acid reflux symptoms, talk to Dr. Pothuri about prescription medications, over-the-counter antacids, and possible surgery to resolve your GERD.

For a personalized plan that helps you avoid your GERD triggers, call our office in Cypress, Texas, today. Alternatively, book an appointment using this website. We want to help you heal and enjoy a better quality of life.

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