House Call: Acid Reflux Disease – Managing the Holidays

Sixty million people in the United States experience symptoms of acid reflux disease at least once a month, while fifteen million people in the U.S. experience symptoms every day.  The holiday season especially involves an excess of foods that tend to trigger acid reflux disease symptoms and/or flare-ups. 

More: PDF: Holiday Health Tips

The main symptom of the disease is a rising sour taste and burning sensation in the chest and esophagus, commonly referred to as heartburn. Other, less common symptoms include bad breath, severe chest pain, asthma, eroded tooth enamel, ear pain and throat-clearing. 

It is important to moderate your consumption of foods that are high in fat, greasy or especially spicy, as these choices can trigger acid reflux disease symptoms.  Chocolate and peppermint have also been linked to disease flare-ups, which are also commonly available at holiday gatherings.  Do not go to bed shortly after eating a large meal, as this also increases your likelihood of experiencing acid reflux symptoms. 

During the holiday season, availability and access to common triggers of acid reflux disease tends to increase.  This does not mean you must completely deprive yourself during the festive gatherings, but you should be sure to practice moderation. 

Those who are experiencing heartburn or other symptoms of acid reflux disease more than three times a week should discuss how to properly manage and treat the condition with their doctor.  Cone Health has an exceptional network of gastroenterologists, primary care physicians and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating and treating patients with acid reflux disease and other gastrointestinal conditions.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Robert “Mike” Rourk is a gastroenterologist at Rockingham Gastroenterology Associates in Reidsville, N.C., and a member of Cone Health medical staff.  Dr. Rourk is a 1985 graduate of East Carolina University School of Medicine.  He completed his residency in internal medicine at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.