Answers to Common Digestive Health Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about digestive health.

How does gastroesophageal reflux affect a person’s lifestyle or quality of life?

Dr. Lowry discusses how gastroesophageal reflux can affect a person’s quality of life. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can affect your quality of life and lifestyle in a variety of ways.

Aside from being uncomfortable because of the burning feeling it causes, GERD also can cause other issues, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including:

  • Asthma can get worse
  • Bronchospasm, which is an irritation and spasm of the airway because of acid
  • Changes to the esophageal lining that increases cancer risk
  • Chronic cough or hoarseness
  • Dental problems
  • Stricture, which is the narrowing of the esophagus because of scarring
  • Ulcers in the esophagus

Because GERD can be caused by lifestyle factors, sometimes lifestyle changes are needed to help improve the condition, according to the NIH.

Lifestyle factors that can cause GERD, include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Use of some pain medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen

By making some lifestyle changes you can sometimes improve GERD issues. The NIH recommends:

  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Quit smoking
  • Take acetaminophen for pain relief, if needed

Your doctor might also recommend occasional use of over-the-counter antacids or over-the-counter or prescription drugs to help treat the GERD, according to the NIH.

Talk with your doctor for more information about how GERD can affect your lifestyle and quality of life.

Learn more:

Source: L. Stewart Lowry, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; Rosanne Danielson, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Fayez Abboud, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine


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