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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a backflow of acid from the stomach into the swallowing tube (esophagus).
These home care steps can help you manage GERD:
Maintain a healthy weight. Get help to lose any extra pounds.
Avoid lying down after meals.
Avoid eating late at night.
Elevate the head of your bed by 6 inches. You can do this by placing wooden blocks under the head of your bed.
Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes.
Avoid foods that might irritate your stomach, such as the following:
Spearmint or peppermint
Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications. These medications can make GERD symptoms worse:
Calcium channel blockers
Anticholinergic medications such as oxybutynin and benzatropine
Begin an exercise program. Ask your doctor how to get started. You can benefit from simple activities, such as walking or gardening.
Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day.
Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.
Avoid over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
If possible, avoid nitrates (heart medications such as nitroglycerin and Isordil).
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
Pain when swallowing
Feeling of food caught in your chest or throat
Pain in the neck, chest, or back
Heartburn that causes you to vomit
Black or tarry stools (from digested blood)
More saliva (watering of the mouth) than usual
Weight loss of more than 3% to 5% of your total body weight in a month
Hoarseness or sore throat that won’t go away
Choking, coughing, or wheezing
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