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Keeping a Heartburn Journal

A Simple Way to Find & Avoid Your Triggers
  -- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, causes painful symptoms (like heartburn and acid regurgitation) that usually occur after meals. An exact cause of GERD hasn’t been pinpointed, but certain foods and lifestyle habits seem to trigger GERD symptoms in many people suffering from this condition.

To complicate matters even more, every person suffering from GERD has a different list of foods and habits that trigger their symptoms.

That’s why it's wise to keep a heartburn journal to find your own specific triggers. Here’s how to get started.

Set a timeline. Decide how long you plan to record your observations in your journal. Two to four weeks should be ample time for you to notice patterns. 

Take notes. Each time you experience a bout of heartburn, note symptoms, timing, foods you ate and other activities: Remember that even if you are able to eliminate your GERD symptoms, it is still important to consult with your doctor. Even without symptoms, GERD can still be present and may lead to serious medical complications if left untreated.

Besides acting as a tool that will help you to modify your own behavior and symptoms, your heartburn journal is also a great way to help you communicate with your doctor as you develop a plan to battle your burn.