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KENILWORTH, N.J., Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. Heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which develops when reflux of gastric contents in the esophagus causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications. Although it's a relatively common condition, heartburn should not be ignored.

In a new editorial on MerckManuals.com, Kristle Lee Lynch, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania, outlines GERD's additional symptoms and the potential complications that can come with failure to treat the condition. Dr. Lynch also shares five ways to reduce heartburn and GERD symptoms.

1. Stay Upright for at Least 4 Hours After Eating

By four hours after a meal, around 90 percent of the food in your stomach has been digested. Avoid lying down during that time – including on the couch – to help digestion and minimize heartburn.

2. Avoid Fats (and Fiber)

Most people know that fatty foods can cause heartburn. The same goes for highly acidic food and drink. But many people don't realize food that's high in fiber can take a long time to digest, which can lead to GERD symptoms after a meal.

3. Skip the Tight Yoga Pants

Anything that puts pressure on the stomach can hinder digestion and may cause heartburn. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes can help reduce symptoms.

4. Find a Medication that Works

Talk to your doctor about which medications might be right for you, from over-the-counter meds to prescribed proton pump inhibitors or histamine-2 blockers.

5. Commit to Lifestyle Changes

For overweight sufferers of GERD, the single most effective way to find relief is to lose the weight. Research has shown that patients who treat their GERD through weight loss have higher life satisfaction scores and better quality of life than those on medication. 

Read more about GERD and its symptoms, including more about related conditions and who is at risk, in Dr. Lynch's editorial on MerckManuals.com

About The Merck Manuals and MSD Manuals

First published in 1899 as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists, The Merck Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the world's most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manual evolved, it continually expanded the reach and depth of its offerings to reflect the mission of providing the best medical information to a wide cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. In 2015, The Manuals kicked off Global Medical Knowledge 2020, a global initiative with the goal to make the best current medical information accessible by up to three billion professionals and patients around the world by 2020. The Manuals achieved that goal, and today its medical information is available in more than 241 counties and in nearly a dozen languages. It's continuing its ambitious mission through outreach, education and creating new reliable medical resources. For access to thousands of medical topics with images, videos and a constantly expanding set of resources, visit MerckManuals.com or MSDManuals.com and connect with us on social media:
For Consumers in the U.S. and its territories: Twitter and Facebook
For Professionals in the U.S. and its territories: Twitter and Facebook

About Merck

For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world.  For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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This article originally ran on curated.tncontentexchange.com.

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