Re: gerd? reflux? help yea!
Acid reflux just means that the stomach juices come back up the esophagus. They are very acidic! The actual stomach has natural protection against the acid, but the esophagus and throat do not, hence the reflux causes pain and sometimes coughing.
Yes, smoking and drinking can make it worse. Honestly, I have about 4 alcoholic drinks per year nowadays, and I pay for each one with pain. Of course, quitting can be a challenge.
One thing he can try to improve his quality of life immediately is to either buy a wedge pillow or prop up the head of the bed on blocks. (Just propping up the head on pillows won't work, the torso has to be straight.) He can also avoid eating or drinking anything late at night.
A little bit of blood on the toilet paper usually is just due to sores around the anus. A significant amount of blood in the toilet bowl requires medical attention.