Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Your caregiver has diagnosed your chest discomfort as caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD).

GERD is caused by a reflux of acid from your stomach into the digestive tube between your mouth and stomach(esophagus). Acid in contact with the esophagus causes soreness (inflammation) resulting in heartburn or chest pain. It may cause small holes in the lining of the esophagus(ulcers).


      Increased body weight puts pressure on the stomach, making acid rise.

      Smoking increases acid production.

      Alcohol decreases pressure on the valve between the stomach and esophagus(loweresophagealsphincter), allowing acid from the stomach into the esophagus.

      Late evening meals and a full stomach increase pressure and acid production.

      Lower esophageal sphincter is malformed.

      Sometimes, no reason is found.


      Change the factors that you can control. Weight, smoking, or alcohol changes may be difficult to change on your own. Your caregiver can provide guidance and medical therapy.

      Raising the head of your bed may help you to sleep.

      Over-the-counter medicines will decrease acid production. Your caregiver can also prescribe medicines for this. Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort,or fever as directed by your caregiver.

      ½ to 1 teaspoon of an antacid taken every hour while awake, with meals, and at bedtime,can neutralize acid.

      DO NOT take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs).


      The pain changes in location (radiates into arms, neck, jaw, teeth, or back), intensity, orduration.

      You start feeling sick to your stomach (nauseous), start throwing up (vomiting), or sweating


      You develop left arm or jaw pain.

      You develop pain going into your back, shortness of breath, or you passout.

      There is vomiting of fluid that is green, yellow, or looks like coffee grounds or blood.

These symptoms could signal other problems, such as heartdisease. MAKE SURE YOU:

      Understand these instructions.

      Will watch your condition.

      Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.

Document Released: 09/27/2006 Document Revised: 01/20/2012 Document Reviewed:04/30/2008

ExitCare® Patient Information ©2012 ExitCare,LLC.