You may believe that your GERD has made you hungrier than ever, while someone else swears that their acid reflux disease has decreased their appetite.

Can both patients be right?

I asked a doctor if GERD can, indeed, increase hunger.

“No. No relationship to GERD increasing hunger,” says Dr. Brian Lacy, MD, of Dartmouth Hitchcock Med Center, who specializes in functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and is author of the book “Healing Heartburn.”

What about GERD making you less hungry?

Dr. Lacy explains, “Conversely, however, in the occasional patient, significant GERD decreases appetite because symptoms of regurgitation (liquids or solids coming up from the stomach into the throat or mouth) or persistent pyrosis (substernal burning; a typical ‘heartburn’ symptom) can decrease appetite.

“What does happen in some patients with significant reflux symptoms (substernal burning or regurgitation) is that appetite increases, and weight gain may occur when heartburn is well-treated.

“That’s not a direct result of the medication; it is a result of feeling better.”

Dr. Lacy combines his love of science, medicine and people to uncover the causes of symptoms like stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and regurgitation. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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