Don’t Get Heartburn This Summer

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Favorite summer foods can exacerbate heartburn – the unpleasant
burning sensation felt deep in your chest after eating or drinking. Tomatoes, barbecue, citrus & cocktails can make symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, feel even more uncomfortable…

Understanding GERD
GERD occurs when the lower muscle of the esophagus doesn’t close properly, allowing stomach acid and food to flow back up. If left untreated, it can cause serious damage to the lining of the esophagus.

Symptoms include:

■ Burning pain that begins in the chest or behind the chest
bone and moves up toward the throat
■ Pain that usually occurs after meals and responds to antacids
■ A feeling that food is coming back into the mouth
■ An acid or bitter taste at the back of the throat
■ Chronic coughing, wheezing or worsening asthma
■ Sore throat or hoarseness & difficulty swallowing

You can manage your symptoms for a heartburn-free summer:

  1. Keep a diet log. Identify what triggers heartburn for you & avoid those foods.
  2. Limit trigger foods such as tomatoes, peppermints, chocolate, fatty & fried food, caffeinated drinks & citrus drinks. Instead of tomatoes in your salad, replace with carrots or milder veggies; grill instead of frying; and refresh dessert with sorbets instead of chocolate.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight putsmore pressure on your stomach. Take advantage of the later sunsets – go on a walk after dinner.
  4. Avoid tight-fitting belts and clothes that put pressureon your stomach. Summer affords more opportunities to wear lightweight fabrics such as linen or seersucker,which fit loosely on the body.
  5. Avoid alcohol, which increases the chances of acid flowing from your stomach into your esophagus.
  6. Eat small meals. Try six small meals a day, instead of three large ones, and eat slowly.
  7. Let your food digest. Avoid exercising, lying down or bending over soon after eating.
  8. Stop smoking. Smoking stimulates acid production and inhibits saliva, which protects the esophagus lining.

If symptoms persist or taking over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications do not
provide relief, make time to talk with your doctor.

For more information, call the Heartburn Treatment Center at Northside Hospital-Forsyth at 770-844-3675 or visit www.northside.com

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