QUESTION FROM TEXAS:
I have good control as long as I sleep elevated. After eating at night (early) I sometimes have bloating in my abdomen that causes GERD symptoms to begin. I had a CAT scan with contrast and they said all was good, but I know it’s not. Before the CAT scan, I did eat very light dinner and nothing after midnight, so I had no stomach bloating. I just don’t know what to do next. Any suggestions?
You indicated that your symptoms were heartburn, chest pain, and frequent throat clearing, which suggests the possibility of both GERD and LPR. However, you also indicated that you did not have an endoscopy (EDG) prior to your diagnosis, so we really can’t be certain if you have GERD or not. If you do have GERD, an EDG is still recommended to determine the condition of your esophagus and that your disease has not yet progressed to something more serious.
Accurate diagnosis with a GERD expert is critical
Many adults are diagnosed with GERD by their family doctor or primary care physician (PCP), and unfortunately, these physicians are unable to perform the necessary tests to accurately confirm a GERD diagnosis. I think you should consider scheduling a visit with a GERD expert for a complete evaluation (typically will include and EDG and 24-hour pH testing) and to learn all of your treatment options. Although we do not have a GERD expert near you, there are several that are a few hours away in Lubbock, TX and San Antonio. If you have friends or family that you visit in those cities or other major cities in Texas, simply use our DocMatch online tool and we will send you the GERD expert’s contact information.
Stomach bloating is very common and can be managed
Stomach bloating and discomfort in your abdomen is not unusual, and if you actually have GERD, that will put more pressure on your abdomen and lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Since GERD is a weak LES, that pressure may be enough to push the contents of your stomach into the esophagus, resulting in your painful symptoms. To reduce your stomach bloating, I suggest that you consider focusing on both portion size and your diet. In Recipe for Relief: A GERD-friendly meal plan and diet program, we offer daily meal plans and recipes that may help. Bloating as well as GERD symptoms can result from rich and fatty foods. Our program also recommends 5 meals daily and smaller meal portions. You should also avoid any carbonated beverages that may increase the amount of air and pressure in the stomach. You might also consider going without wheat and gluten for a week to determine if that is adding to your bloating. If this natural approach fails to result in less bloating, you can speak with your pharmacist to discuss any over-the-counter medications that can help manage your symptoms. I encourage you to read our article: Acid reflux diet: Finding the best program for GERD, where we talk about trigger foods, portion size, belly fat, and discuss several diet programs.
A healthy BMI is important for stomach bloating and GERD
I also noted that your BMI is between 24.1 and 26.9, indicating that you are slightly overweight. This can also add to your GERD symptoms, and if this weight is being carried around the belly, then it could also be a cause of your bloating as well. We encourage everyone with GERD symptoms to maintain a BMI of 24 or less and follow a GERD-friendly diet. We also recommend a comprehensive approach to managing GERD symptoms, which includes making the necessary lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, eliminating alcohol, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, standing or sitting upright for at least three hours after dinner, exercising daily, staying well hydrated, avoiding caffeine in all beverages, eliminating all excess belly fat, and experimenting with various home remedies that have worked for so many others. Finally, if you actually have GERD, we hope you will determine your GERD stage by using our GERD Stage Finder. After answering a few questions, we will determine your GERD stage and offer you access to a free 18-page personalized report with information and other recommendations. I hope this helps!