Case Study: Severe Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Nicole Keeling
August 22, 2023
5 min read

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues like acid reflux, bloating, and diarrhea can greatly impact quality of life. Medications provide some relief, but dietary changes are also necessary in many cases. This case study shows how a PCN dietitian has helped a patient overcome severe gastrointestinal distress experienced over the past few months.

The Patient's Struggles:

A patient presented with severe GI symptoms, including acid reflux (GERD), bloating, diarrhea, and unintended weight loss over several months. They were losing weight unintentionally, and had been put on multiple courses of antibiotics in the pat few months.

What the dietitian did:

The dietitian took a detailed diet history, and found that the patient was eating a lot of foods that are known triggers to GERD. This includes:

  • Curries were eaten on a daily basis and the base of the curries were all tomato based
  • Foods were often fried or cooked in large amounts of sunflower oil
  • Spices used in 80% of meals

The Nutrition Plan:

The nutrition plan aimed to identify and eliminate dietary triggers while promoting gut-friendly foods. Recommendations included:

  • Switch tomato-based curries to coconut milk-based to reduce acidity  
  • Grill, bake or boil instead of frying to decrease fat
  • Flavor with gut-soothing herbs instead of inflammatory spices
  • Adopt a temporary low FODMAP diet to identify problematic foods
  • Take a daily probiotic to replenish gut bacteria
  • Eat a wide variety of plant foods to support microbiome diversity
  • The patient was also advised to monitor her weight and increase calorie intake once GI symptoms improved.

The Results:

After one month, the patient reported a significant reduction in acid reflux, bloating, diarrhea and other GI issues. She had not lost additional weight. Avoiding dietary triggers and supporting gut health with probiotics and diverse fiber resulted in dramatic improvement.

Key Takeaways:

Everyone is different, and react differently to food triggers. The dietitian was able to discuss dietary patterns and foods, and provide a patient-centered, tailored nutritional approach to tackling symptoms.

Keen to learn more about how dietitians can help your PCN? Drop us an email at

Nicole Keeling
First Contact Dietitian, Primary Care Dietitians