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Helping Others Learn About Digestive Disorders

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Updated December 26, 2012

Living with a digestive disorder isn't easy. Those of us who have to know that fact all too well. There is lots of information published that will tell us what heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hiatal hernias, and peptic ulcers are. That information will also tell us what the symptoms of heartburn, GERD, hiatal hernias and peptic ulcers are. What the books don't tell us, or at least don't usually include very many, are the personal stories. You may want to know how to eat out without heartburn, how to sleep at night without heartburn keeping you awake all night, or how to deal with family members who just don't "get it."

Those of us who were diagnosed with a digestive disorder five or more years ago may have a lot of insight that we could share with someone who has been diagnosed recently. And who of us hasn't encountered something new, and how great it would be to be able to read the tips from someone who has "been there, done that?"

Below you will find many areas that you may be able to share your experiences, tips, and questions. You can share your wisdom, or perhaps find some answers to some of your questions.

Living with heartburn can be a challenge. Despite this, any of many of us have found ways, other than medication, to get our heartburn under control. It may be in the area of diet, nighttime heartburn, or maybe heartburn during pregnancy. Please share what experiences you like by following the links below.

"How I Changed My Habits to Live Heartburn Free!"

If you have suffered from chronic heartburn, you know how it can affect your daily life. In many cases, avoiding foods that cause heartburn, making some lifestyle modifications and taking measures to prevent nighttime heartburn, can help individuals live a heartburn-free life. Besides medications, what have you done that allows you to live with no (or little) heartburn? Share you stories or get ideas from others.

What Foods Are Your Biggest Heartburn Trigger?

You may need to avoid certain foods if you suffer from heartburn. For some people it's spicy foods. For others it may be fried or fatty foods. For others, it may seem like they can't eat anything without heartburn occurring. What foods are your biggest heartburn triggers? How do you cope with your food triggers? Do you have any handy tips or food substitutions?

How Do You Eat Out Without Heartburn?

There will be certain types of foods you will need to avoid when you eat out. For example, if you can't eat fried foods at home, it's unlikely you will be able to eat food prepared this way in a restaurant. Are you able to eat out without heartburn? Perhaps you have learned what to ask for, or what to avoid. You can offer your tips here, or get tips and ideas from others.

How Do You Deal With Nighttime Heartburn?

Nearly eight in 10 heartburn sufferers experience heartburn symptoms at night. But staying up all night to fend off heartburn isn't practical. Share your tips on getting through the night -- free of heartburn.

How Did You Handle Heartburn During Your Pregnancy?

Many women who have never experienced heartburn before may for the first time experience heartburn while they are pregnant. That burning sensation in the chest and throat, and sour taste in the mouth, may become an all too familiar sensation. Some women take medication recommended by their doctor. If heartburn was an issue for you during your nine months, what things did you do to avoid heartburn while pregnant?

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Before you can start to live with GERD you first need to have a firm diagnosis of GERD. That means going to your doctor. Different people go to their doctors because of different symptoms. Unfortunately there are those people who think their frequent heartburn is just heartburn and nothing to worry about. You should see your doctor to find out if it is "just heartburn" or something more serious. Those of you who have were diagnosed years ago may have good tips to share in all the areas listed below.

What symptoms led you to your GERD diagnosis?

Heartburn is the main symptom of GERD, though some people diagnosed with GERD didn't experience heartburn. Symptoms of GERD can vary from person to person and can include hoarseness in the morning, difficulty swallowing, and a persistent dry cough. When did you first suspect you were suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? What symptoms prompted you to go to your doctor about it? Share your experiences with others. Sharing your symptoms could prompt someone else with similar symptoms to see a doctor when they might not otherwise.

How Did You Decide What GERD Treatment to Pursue?

Some people are willing to make extreme lifestyle modifications in order to get relief, while others would rather take a pill daily than give up their favorite foods. Some people are hesitant to take any medication, and would rather have some discomfort than be on medication every day. Others will take the cost of treatment into consideration. How did you decide on what sort of treatment you were going to pursue?

What is the Most Annoying Thing About Having GERD?

What is the most annoying thing about having GERD for you? For me, it is the food I have to avoid in order not to experience heartburn, some of which is food that I love. What has been your experience?

How Did You Tell Your Family and Friends You Have GERD?

If you have been diagnosed with GERD, you have probably had to make some changes in your daily habits, including your nighttime routines, when and how you eat, and in the foods you eat. How did you explain your GERD so that family and friends could better understood your changes? How did you tell them about any restrictions you needed to make (e.g. what foods you can eat, no alcohol)? Sharing your experiences may help others find a way to discuss GERD with their family and friends.

Do Family and Friends Support You?

If you live with GERD, you may have had to make some changes in the foods you eat. Perhaps you have explained your dietary changes to your family and friends. How have they reacted? Have they tried to support you and include some of your heartburn-safe foods when you dine with them, or have you had to bring your own foods to eat? Share your experiences about how others have tried to help you, or were no help at all.

How Do You Deal With Unwanted Medical Advice About GERD?

When you told your family and friends you were diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, you may have gotten some unwanted medical advice on how you can best live with your condition. Members of your family and your friends likely have no medical training, but they may feel the need to give you advice nonetheless. How do you handle unwanted medical advice from others?

What Do You Think Family and Friends Should Know About GERD?

People who have not had been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease may not understand what it is like living with GERD. You can share here what you think others should know about GERD and how you go about explaining it to your family and friends.

Preparing for Fundoplication Surgery

Some individuals have decided fundoplication surgery is their best option for the treatment of their GERD. If you have had fundoplication surgery, what has been your experience? Knowing what you know now after your fundoplication surgery, what is the one thing that those about to have this surgery should do beforehand to make life easier later?

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What if you have a hiatal hernia? Sometimes just getting a diagnosis for a hiatal hernia can be challenging at times. Some people don't have any symptoms, while others experience obvious symptoms of a hiatal hernia. And then there is the day to day life after a diagnosis. Maybe as you adjusted to having a hernia, you learned which changes in your life and diet brought you the most comfort. And then there is the telling of family members and perhaps even getting some unwanted medical advice. A few of these areas are covered below, all of which will give you an opportunity to share your stories and tips, and see what others have to say.

What Symptoms Led You to a Hiatal Hernia Diagnosis?

Many people never experience symptoms before they find out they have a hiatal hernia. Other people learn they have a hiatal hernia after they visit their doctor with chronic heartburn that isn't relieved with over-the-counter antacids. When did you first suspect you may have a hiatal hernia? Were there symptoms that prompted you to go to your doctor? Let others know your experience. Sharing your symptoms could prompt someone else with similar symptoms to see a doctor.

How Do You Deal with Unwanted Medical Advice?

When you told your family and friends you were diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, you may have gotten some unwanted medical advice. Chances are your friends and family have no medical training, but they may feel the need to give you advice nonetheless. How do you handle unwanted medical advice?

What Annoys You the Most about Living with a Hiatal Hernia?

My mother had a hiatal hernia, and the pain she sometimes suffered after eating was her main complaint. What has been your experience? What has been the most annoying thing about having a hiatal hernia?

What Do You Think Family and Friends Should Know About Hiatal Hernias?

People who have not had been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia may not understand what it is like living with one. You can share what you think others should know about the condition and how you go about explaining it to your family and friends.

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Many people still assume that peptic ulcers are caused by stress or eating too much spicy foods. Your doctor will have explained about the H. pylori infection, and put you on a treatment plan. What symptoms led you to your doctor? What do you think others should know about peptic ulcers, especially those who may suggest your ulcer was caused by stress? You can share your experiences and tips in the areas below.

What Symptoms Led to Your Peptic Ulcer Diagnosis?

Peptic ulcers form when the protective lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) becomes eroded. These ulcers can cause a variety of symptoms, which can vary from patient to patient. When did you first suspect you may have a peptic ulcer? What symptoms prompted you to go to your doctor about it? Share your experiences with other. Sharing your symptoms could prompt someone else with similar symptoms to see a doctor when they might not otherwise.

What Do You Think Family and Friends Should Know About Peptic Ulcers?

People who have not had been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer may not understand what it is like living with an ulcer. You can share here what you think others should know about peptic ulcers and how you go about explaining it to your family and friends.

How Do You Deal With Unwanted Medical Advice About Peptic Ulcers?

When you told your family and friends you were diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, you may have gotten some unwanted medical advice on how you can best live with your condition. Members of your family and your friends likely have no medical training, but they may feel the need to give you advice nonetheless. How do you handle unwanted medical advice from others?

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