Green Bay - National GERD Awareness Week takes place every year during the week of Thanksgiving – a time when many Americans may experience heartburn associated with overeating. However, if heartburn occurs more frequently, or is associated with symptoms other than heartburn, it may be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a lifelong disease that affects up to one in five adults in the United States. 
GERD is caused by a weak valve that allows acid, bile and stomach contents to flow back from the stomach into the esophagus, creating pain (heartburn) and often causing damage to the lining of the esophagus. Heartburn is the most common symptom, but not the only one. Some GERD sufferers experience other symptoms, such as regurgitation, hoarseness, persistent cough, asthma, bad breath, sleep disturbance and tooth erosion.
Ways to reduce GERD symptoms:
  1. Avoid foods known to worsen symptoms; including citrus, tomato, onion, mint, chocolate, spicy foods and fried/high-fat foods.
  2. Avoid carbonated beverages, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.
  3. Avoid NSAIDs (naproxen and ibuprofen).
  4. Elevate the head of your bed 4 to 8 inches.
  5. Avoid lying down within 2 to 3 hours after late or large evening meals.
  6. Consume smaller and more frequent meals.
  7. Lose weight. Even a 5 to 10 percent weight loss will be beneficial in reducing your symptoms.
  8. Avoid clothing that is tight around the waist.
The Prevea Heartburn Treatment Center specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and care of heartburn, GERD and other esophageal diseases.
“Diagnostic testing performed by a health care provider specializing in diseases of the esophagus is the only way to definitively diagnose GERD,” said Sally Bowa, APNP, and Patient Coordinator at the Prevea Heartburn Treatment Center. “If someone finds themselves having symptoms despite taking medication, or if they develop new symptoms or nighttime reflux, it’s time to get a thorough evaluation from a GERD specialist who can provide an accurate diagnosis and discuss the latest treatment options.”
The Prevea Heartburn Treatment Center serves patients at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, 1726 Shawano Ave., and HSHS St. Vincent Hospital, 835 S. Van Buren St., in Green Bay. Appointments can be made by calling (920) 429-1700 or upon referral from a primary care provider.
About Prevea Health
Prevea Health’s mission is to care for people with passion, pride, and respect. Founded in 1996, Prevea Health partners with HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay, HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, to provide access to more than 200 physicians in more than 60 specialty areas. Prevea has more than 40 locations throughout Northeast Wisconsin and Western Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley region. For more information, visit