Heartburn is one of the more common symptoms associated with GERD. When it comes to heartburn, a lot of people believe that a main cause of their symptoms is the food they eat. They may tend to avoid certain ingredients or dishes that have triggered heartburn issues in the past.
That painful burning feeling in the chest caused by heartburn is the result of stomach acid entering and going up the esophagus. In normal individuals, stomach acid is contained within the stomach by a barrier known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
The LES is a ring-shaped muscle that remains tightly closed except when swallowing is occurring. Individuals who suffer from GERD have a damaged LES, which allows the stomach acid to enter the esophagus.
The foods that you eat do not change the disease of GERD, meaning weakening the valve or increasing the number of reflux episodes you have. If your esophagus is irritated from reflux, then it would make sense that having a glass of wine would be like pouring alcohol on an open wound. So the heartburn may become more intense. Some examples are citrus, chocolate, red wine, tomatoes. If these foods make your symptoms worse, then avoiding them would be a good idea. If these foods do not bother you, then it is ok to have them.
Making appropriate changes to your diet by cutting out foods that can cause heartburn and other GERD-related issues can make managing the condition much easier and can lead to a noticeable increase in your quality of life.
If you would like to learn more about your treatment options for GERD, contact the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery today to schedule a consultation with GERD expert Dr. Reginald Bell.