Improving Patient Adherence to Lifestyle Changes for the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux

Livia Guadagnoli, Madison Simons, Josie McGarva, Tiffany H. Taft, Miranda A.L. van Tilburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common gastrointestinal illness with symptoms of heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation. Management of GERD can involve medication use, lifestyle modification (eg, dietary modification), and surgical intervention depending on the individual patient and disease severity. Poor adherence to medication and recommended lifestyle changes may result in increased symptom severity and decreased quality of life. This paper aimed to systematically review the literature on lifestyle modification for the management of GERD. Fourteen articles were included based on search criteria. Following review and analysis, three types of lifestyle modifications were present in the literature and include medication use, dietary recommendations, and sleep recommendations. Despite being a pharmacological treatment, medication adherence was included in the review, as health behavior change can be used to improve adherence. Overall, the factors associated with adherence to modifications varied in terms of impact and directionality, depending on the type of lifestyle modification. Symptom severity emerged as important across all lifestyle modifications, and is associated with increased adherence to medication use, but decreased adherence to dietary guidelines. While patient–provider communication appeared to improve patient knowledge, it is unclear if increased knowledge translates to improved adherence. The review also demonstrated a lack of clear and standardized guidelines across lifestyle modifications, which may have an influence on adherence and adherence reporting. Future research in GERD treatment adherence would benefit from the use of validated measures to assess adherence. Specific recommendations to improving patient adherence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-909
Number of pages13
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2022


  • GERD
  • compliance
  • medication
  • nutrition
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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