Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Adult

ExitCare ImageGastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when acid from your stomach goes into your food pipe (esophagus). The acid can cause a burning feeling in your chest. Over time, the acid can make small holes (ulcers) in your food pipe.


  • Ask your doctor for advice about:

  • Losing weight.

  • Quitting smoking.

  • Alcohol use.

  • Avoid foods and drinks that make your problems worse. You may want to avoid:

  • Caffeine and alcohol.

  • Chocolate.

  • Mints.

  • Garlic and onions.

  • Spicy foods.

  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, or limes.

  • Foods that contain tomato, such as sauce, chili, salsa, and pizza.

  • Fried and fatty foods.

  • Avoid lying down for 3 hours before you go to bed or before you take a nap.

  • Eat small meals often, instead of large meals.

  • ExitCare ImageWear loose-fitting clothing. Do not wear anything tight around your waist.

  • Raise (elevate) the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches with wood blocks. Using extra pillows does not help.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.

  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.


  • You have pain in your arms, neck, jaw, teeth, or back.

  • Your pain gets worse or changes.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous), throw up (vomit), or sweat (diaphoresis).

  • You feel short of breath, or you pass out (faint).

  • Your throw up is green, yellow, black, or looks like coffee grounds or blood.

  • Your poop (stool) is red, bloody, or black.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

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