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Learn How to Extinguish Holiday Heartburn at Free Seminar on November 29

An IU Health West Hospital Release

— The holiday season equals food…lots and lots of food. Whether your feast features turkey, ham or some other roast beast, food is everywhere and plates get piled high. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's often turn into a food free-for-all, and holiday menus are loaded with foods that are known as top heartburn triggers.

If the holiday’s have you reaching for the antacids more than normal, you are not alone. An estimated 15 million Americans experience chronic heartburn, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). For these folks, the holidays can be especially challenging.

“The holiday season is clearly one of the most common times of the year for patients to experience the symptoms of GERD,” says Eugene Ceppa, MD, surgeon with IU Health Physicians at Indiana University Health West Hospital. “The large amounts of food we eat during the holidays, and the types of food served during the holidays--especially fatty and caffeinated foods--can be a recipe for disaster for chronic heartburn sufferers.”

GERD is becoming an increasingly common digestive condition caused by a relaxed or weakened lower esophageal sphincter, the muscular valve between the esophagus and the stomach, that is unable to prevent stomach acid from flowing up into the esophagus. Recent studies show that the prevalence of once weekly acid reflux events had nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

“Acid reflux that occurs more than two times a week, continues over a long period of time (>6 months), and does not respond to acid-blocking medications (pantoprazole, omeprazole, ect.) is not something we want patients to ignore. Chronic acid reflux can lead to more serous medical issues down the road,” says Dr. Ceppa. “For many, this condition can be treated with minimally invasive surgery and you can go home the next day after surgery.”

After eating, people with GERD will often experience a burning feeling in their chest, similar to heartburn, as well as a sour taste in their mouth as a result of stomach acid in the esophagus. Over-the-counter antacids and prescription acid-blocking medications are some of the most widely used products to relieve heartburn symptoms but they can have side effects, be short-lived, and become expensive over time.

Life style changes—avoiding certain foods, eating smaller, more frequent, meals and even losing weight—can help relieve some of the symptoms of GERD. But avoiding temptations, especially around the holidays, can be challenging. Knowing your reflux triggers can go a long way toward enjoying the holidays again.

Want to learn more about acid reflux and GERD? Mark your calendars for a fascinating seminar featuring Eugene Ceppa, MD:

Thursday, November 29
7 pm - 8 pm
Plainfield Recreation & Aquatic Center

Dr. Ceppa will review how GERD is defined, how it is treated with medications and when it is treated best with surgery. There is no cost to attend this seminar, but advance registration is requested. Please call 317.217.3627 today to reserve your spot.

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