Accommodation Ideas for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Stomach Ulcers
Symptoms of stomach ulcers and GERD are often very similar. Symptoms may include hunger-like pain to a continuous burning sensation, vomiting, burping, weight loss, poor appetite, bloating, and nausea. People often experience dull pain in a small area between the breast bone and navel that comes and goes for days or weeks and occurs two to threehours after meals.
Stomach ulcers, also called gastric ulcers, are more likely to develop in people over age 60 and more often in women than men. Peptic or duodenal ulcers result from an erosion of the mucosal tissue of the distal part of the esophagus, stomach or proximal duodenum (first part of small intestine) and usually occur for the first time between the ages of 30 and 50. They occur more frequently in men than women.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)--the muscle connecting the esophagus with the stomach. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return; gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach's contents back up into the esophagus. Many people have from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD, and some people have GERD symptoms due to a hiatal hernia. In most cases, heartburn can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes; however, some people may require medication or surgery.
Accommodation ideas for individuals with GERD and stomach ulcers:
- Managing Fatigue: An individual may benefit from a flexible work schedule, liberal use of leave time, being allowed to work from home, a reduction or elimination of physical exertion and workplace stress, scheduled rest breaks away from the workstation, and ergonomic workstation design.
- Maintaining Medication Regimens and Dietary Allowances: Allowing for storage of medications and/or food, supplying an area to administer medications, providing appropriate containers for medication disposal, and allowing for frequent breaks for food as needed are possible accommodation ideas.
- Working with Medical Restrictions: A flexible or modified work schedule, steady shift schedule, avoidance of temperature extremes, and reassignment are common accommodations for individuals who work with medical restrictions.
- Managing a Sleep Disorder: Individuals with sleep disorders may be accommodated with flexible work hours, frequent breaks, and work from home.
- Managing Depression: It is ususally benefiical to develop proactive work-place strategies may help prevent employment related problems before they arise. Such strategies may include providing sensitivity training to co-workers, allowing telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support, and allowing easy access to information on counseling and employee assistance programs.