Heartburn, GERD, and Indigestion News

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition where the opening between the stomach and the esophagus frequently opens up and allows food and stomach acid to move back up into the esophagus. Everybody experiences gastroesophageal reflux (GER) from time to time, but when it occurs frequently (twice a week or more) and causes disruption to daily life, it is classified as GERD.

Heartburn and acid indigestion are terms that refer to the pain that occurs when the acid splashes back up into the esophagus. Over time, GERD that is allowed to persist without treatment can cause complications such as damage and ulcers in the lining of the esophagus. Esophageal cancer is also a possibility.

Causes

In some people, an abnormality called a hiatal hernia can lead to the development of GERD. Other risk factors, however, can be managed in some cases. For example, smoking, obesity or being pregnant all increase your risk of GERD. There are also certain foods that are more likely to exacerbate the problem, such as spicy foods, tomato-based foods, garlic and onions, citrus, chocolate, fatty or fried foods and drinks with caffeine or alcohol in them.

Prevention and Treatment

Losing weight, quitting smoking and avoiding irritating foods are all steps you can take to lessen your risk of GERD or to help with treatment. You can also take simple steps to prevent GERD close to bedtime by elevating the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches, and by avoiding sleeping or lying down two to three hours after eating.

There are a number of medications that can help prevent it from occurring or actively treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. In situations where the GERD is more serious or if damage has begun to occur in the esophagus, surgery to repair or remove the damaged tissue may be an option for some.

SOURCES: National Institutes of Health: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Asthma and Immunology.

Date Posted
Article Title
7/21/2017
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Long-term use of popular heartburn drugs may increased death risk, new study finds.

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Can Your Heartburn Meds Shorten Your Life?

Study found association between prolonged use of certain drugs and increased risk of early death

1/9/2017
Are Heartburn Meds During Pregnancy Linked to Asthma in Kids?

Analysis suggests, but doesn't prove, that these children were one-third more likely to see a doctor for asthma

1/5/2017
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11/16/2016
Popular Heartburn Medications and Stroke Risk

Popular medications prescribed to reduce stomach acid and heartburn may up stroke risk, study finds.

11/15/2016
Could Common Heartburn Drugs Up Stroke Risk?

Researchers concerned about high doses of meds like Nexium and Prilosec

6/6/2016
Health Tip: Is it Indigestion?

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5/10/2016
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Prior research has also raised concerns about Nexium and heart health

4/14/2016
Common Heartburn Drugs Linked to Kidney Disease in Study

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3/30/2016
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Death rate from procedure lower than previously reported, study finds

2/15/2016
Widely Used Heartburn Drugs Linked to Dementia Risk in Study

Research finds association among users over age 75, but can't prove the medications cause memory problems

2/12/2016
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Study finds cola boosts effectiveness of Tarceva for patients who are also taking a heartburn medicine

1/11/2016
Heartburn Meds Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease

While study can't prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage seen as dose rises

12/22/2015
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11/26/2015
Frequent Heartburn May Signal More Serious Digestive Problem

Could be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and treatments can help, expert says

11/25/2015
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Expert offers tips for avoiding heartburn this holiday

10/28/2015
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Medications used to treat acid reflux may increase kidney disease risk, new studies find.

9/1/2015
Health Tip: Taking Antacids

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8/31/2015
Health Tip: GERD Shouldn't Interrupt Sleep

Watch what you eat before bed

6/24/2015
Health Tip: Identifying Symptoms of GERD

Heartburn is a primary characteristic

6/11/2015
Heartburn Drugs and Heart Attack Risk

Common antacid may increase the risk of heart attack, new study finds.

6/10/2015
Popular Heartburn Meds Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Attack

But don't stop taking proton pump inhibitors based on this study, expert says

4/17/2015
More Evidence of Long-Term Illness in 9/11 Responders

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1/26/2015
Generic Form of Nexium Approved

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12/29/2014
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12/2/2014
Antacids May Improve Head and Neck Cancer Survival

Reason for benefit unclear, more research is needed, study author says

11/27/2014
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Expert offers tips on reducing the post-meal discomfort

11/25/2014
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Study suggests class of meds upset healthy balance of bacteria in the gut

6/12/2014
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Too many patients unaware that timing is key to treatment, study finds

6/10/2014
Halting Heartburn

Most frequent heartburn sufferers aren't taking over-the-counter medications correctly, study finds

5/3/2014
Doctors Often Suggest Pricier, Brand-Name Meds for Reflux: Study

But store brands and generics of these OTC medications are much cheaper, researchers note

2/7/2014
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Doctors realized patient's mysterious symptoms resembled those of a character on the medical drama

2/5/2014
New Weight-Loss Surgery May Not Ease Chronic Heartburn

Study finds sleeve gastrectomy often doesn't relieve acid reflux, and sometimes makes it worse

11/8/2013
Generic Aciphex Approved to Treat Chronic Heartburn

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5/23/2013
Chronic Heartburn May Raise Odds for Throat Cancer: Study

But simple antacids appear to lower the risk, researchers report

5/20/2013
Losing Weight May Ease Chronic Heartburn

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

4/5/2013
Health Tip: Before You Take This Heartburn Medication...

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3/6/2013
Health Tip: Don't Let GERD Interrupt Your Sleep

Follow these suggestions to minimize symptoms

2/22/2013
Heartburn Meds May Often Be Taken for Too Long, at Too-High Doses

Study of U.S. veterans found many stay on drugs such as Prilosec for months, years without reevaluation

2/20/2013
Magnetic Implant May Ease Chronic Acid Reflux

Study found device allowed some heartburn patients to stop taking medication

1/25/2013
Chronic Heartburn Could Spur Asthma in Some Patients

Study reinforces the link, and a new test might be better at spotting the problem, experts say

12/4/2012
New Guidelines Urge Limiting Endoscopy for GERD

Women should not undergo routine screening, and many men don't need it either, according to American College of Physicians

11/22/2012
Tips for Holiday Heartburn Relief

Some advice if you tend to overindulge

10/23/2012
Stimulation Device for Esophagus Might Ease GERD Symptoms

Three small, early studies found the device helped for at least a year

8/16/2012
7/25/2012
Untreated Heartburn May Raise Risk for Esophageal Cancer, Study Says

Obesity, poor diet contribute to acid reflux, which is sometimes linked to the deadly disease

5/18/2012
Chronic Heartburn May Boost Risk for Esophageal Cancer

Inflammation of tissue lining the esophagus could be the cause, study says

3/23/2012
New Device Approved for Lingering GERD

After lifestyle changes, medication fail to relieve symptoms