Acid Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Discharge Instructions, Adult

Email

Send Email

Recipient(s) will receive an email with a link to 'Acid Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Discharge Instructions, Adult' and will have access to the topic for 7 days.

Subject: Acid Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Discharge Instructions, Adult

(Optional message may have a maximum of 1000 characters.)

×


About this topic

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is sometimes just called reflux. Normally, food goes from the mouth through the food pipe and then into the belly. The food pipe is also called the esophagus. This condition happens when the contents of the belly leak into the food pipe. This leaking can irritate the food pipe. You may feel a burning pain in your chest called heartburn. You may have burping, bloating, and belly pain after eating. GERD can be treated in many different ways. Sometimes, doctors use drugs or suggest changes in lifestyle. Other times, diet changes or surgery is needed. 

Image(s)

This is an image of a man and the esophagus and stomach. The stomach and esophagus are reddened from irritation.

This is an image of a man and the esophagus and stomach. The stomach and esophagus are reddened from irritation.

This is an image of the stomach, diaphragm and esophagus. There is stomach acid in the stomach. It is bubbling up into the lower esophagus through the lower esophagus sphincter and this causes the esophagus to become reddened.

This is an image of the stomach, diaphragm and esophagus. There is stomach acid in the stomach. It is bubbling up into the lower esophagus through the lower esophagus sphincter and this causes the esophagus to become reddened.

What care is needed at home?

  • Ask your doctor what you need to do when you go home. Make sure you ask questions if you do not understand what the doctor says. This way you will know what you need to do.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Avoid stress.

  • Avoid belts and clothes that are too tight.

  • Eat small meals more often. Do not skip meals. Do not eat large meals to make up for missed meals.

  • Avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

  • Do not to lie down for at least 2 hours after eating.

  • Raise the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). Use wooden blocks under the head of the bed. Just sleeping with your head raised on pillows is not enough. It can cause discomfort and make your signs worse.

  • Do not drink beer, wine, and mixed drinks (alcohol).

  • Do not smoke.

What follow-up care is needed?

Your doctor may ask you to make visits to the office to check on your progress. Be sure to keep these visits. 

What drugs may be needed?

The doctor may order drugs to: 
  • Relieve heartburn

  • Prevent reflux

  • Lessen acid production

  • Heal the esophageal lining

Will physical activity be limited?

Your physical activities will not be limited. 

What changes to diet are needed?

  • Limit caffeine intake.

  • Avoid eating oranges, berries, tomatoes, and other foods high in acid.

  • Eat only small amounts of spicy, fatty, and fried foods, or avoid them altogether.

  • Keep track of the foods that cause your signs to become worse. Avoid or limit these food items.

What problems could happen?

  • Asthma

  • Precancerous changes in the food pipe

  • Long-term cough

  • Dental problems

  • Higher risk of cancer of the food pipe. This is esophageal cancer.

  • Narrowing of the food pipe. This is a stricture.

  • Open sore in the food pipe. This is an ulcer.

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Pain or a feeling of food getting stuck in your throat

  • Frequent throwing up or throwing up fluid that looks like blood or coffee grounds

  • Pain in the chest or upper part of the belly

  • Very bad heartburn that lasts for a long time

  • Cough, hoarseness of voice, or bad breath

  • Wheezing, shortness of breath or other problems breathing

  • Unintended weight loss or not wanting to eat

  • You are not feeling better in 2 to 3 days or you are feeling worse

Teach Back: Helping You Understand

The Teach Back Method helps you understand the information we are giving you. The idea is simple. After talking with the staff, tell them in your own words what you were just told. This helps to make sure the staff has covered each thing clearly. It also helps to explain things that may have been a bit confusing. Before going home, make sure you are able to do these: 
  • I can tell you about my condition.

  • I can tell you what changes I need to make with my eating habits to ease the reflux.

  • I can tell you what I will do if I am throwing up fluid that looks like blood or coffee grounds.

Where can I learn more?

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse 

Last Reviewed Date

2014-06-11 

List_set bdysylist

  • Adult

  • Gastrointestinal

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or life-style choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. 

Copyright

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved. 
×
×