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Tips to Avoid Holiday Heartburn

Managing GERD Symptoms this Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for holiday feasts and festive foods. Unfortunately, for many, indulging in certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux and heartburn.

Heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which affects approximately 20% of U.S. adults, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“GERD occurs when the muscle in the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens or relaxes too often or for too long,” Porter H. Glover, MD, said. “This causes stomach contents and acid to back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and acid indigestion.”

Managing GERD during the holidays can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to help bring symptoms under control this holiday season.

  • Eat earlier in the day. It’s more difficult for food to digest when you’re lying down, so eating earlier and staying upright will allow your food time to break down.
  • Avoid trigger foods. The most common food and drinks that can lead to a GERD episode are garlic, raw onions, red wine, chocolate and anything that’s spicy or highly acidic, like citrus fruits. Pass on dairy and fried foods as well. They are the most recognized cause of reflux due to their high fat content.
  • Drink lots of water. Limit caffeine, carbonated beverages and alcohol. They can cause relaxation of the LES muscle and trigger GERD. Consider herbal tea instead.
  • Everything in moderation. Use a smaller plate to help avoid overindulging.
  • Don’t eat too late. Give yourself 2-3 hours between your last meal and your bedtime.
  • Keep your preferred antacid on standby.

We want everyone to enjoy the holiday season, so being mindful of what and how you eat will help you do so.

About Hattiesburg Clinic Gastroenterology

The Gastroenterology department at Hattiesburg Clinic offers clinical services to evaluate diseases of the intestinal tract, liver and pancreas. Some of the conditions they treat include esophageal disease, peptic ulcer disease, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatitis and cirrhosis. They use a combination of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures for treatment and screening. Gastroenterology is located on the fifth floor of Hattiesburg Clinic’s main facility, located at 415 S. 28th Ave. in Hattiesburg. The contact information for the department is (601) 268-5680.

Keenon Walker

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