“This study provides evidence that common and debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms could be well controlled in many cases with diet and lifestyle modifications alone,” senior author Dr. Andrew T. Chan said in a press release. “Given that there are long-term health effects of GERD and lingering concerns about the side effects of medications used to treat it, lifestyle should be considered the best option for controlling symptoms.”
Established in 1989, the Nurses’ Health Study requires participants to return a detailed health survey biannually. It started with 116,671 participants and has exceeded 90% follow-up. For the heartburn study, it pulled nearly 43,000 women between the ages of 42 to 62 who were asked about GERD or heartburn symptoms from 2005 to 2017.