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Cooling Heartburn With Lifestyle Changes

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
ANNOUNCER: If you're suffering from acid reflux there are ways to relieve your symptoms

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: The elimination of smoking, alcohol, daily coffee drinking, fatty foods, losing some weight, not eating late at night, some head of bed elevation often people will respond in the more mild cases and don't need medical therapy.

Sherry, GERD Patient: I had a pillow like this big wedge I have over here and sawed the legs off the bed, which is supposed to help, you know, tilt your esophagus so that you don't get any kickback from the food.

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: Often patients will sleep on two or three pillows, but really the only thing they're doing is elevating your head. You need to elevate the back and head to create enough gravitational force so that reflux doesn't occur.

ANNOUNCER: And while most people know to stop drinking regular coffee to fight reflux symptoms, they shouldn't stop there.

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: I say all coffee products because the roasted beans from which coffee is made have proteins, which turn on the acid secretion pumps.

ANNOUNCER: And if you do end up on over-the-counter or prescription medicine for acid reflux, don't think you're out of the woods.

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: Medical therapy is not a substitute for living a somewhat reckless life, and that often happens. People feel better with the pill, but they continue to smoke. They continue to drink. They continue to have coffee and eat what and whenever they want, but they should be well aware that the pill can only do so much.

ANNOUNCER: If you're taking steps on your own to treat your own acid reflux, be sure to tell your doctor

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: The biggest concern is that they think it's a benign condition, and that while it's not as serious as other medical illnesses, it can certainly lead to very significant problems. And certainly when the symptoms are two times a week or more, you need to see your doctor.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily!

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