GERD is More Than Heartburn
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disorder which
is often mistaken for heartburn. GERD occurs when stomach acids move
the wrong direction, flowing back up into the esophagus. Acid reflux is
another term which describes this upward movement of stomach acids.
The most common symptoms of GERD include heartburn and acid reflux.
Other symptoms may include bloating or gas, an acid taste in the mouth,
trouble swallowing, and regurgitation of food.
If left untreated, chronic cases of GERD can cause serious health
problems, such as bleeding from the lining of the esophagus; narrowing
of the esophagus; and increased risk of esophageal cancer. Over-thecounter
antacids are usually the first medications prescribed for this condition.
Many other non-prescription and prescription drugs also slow or
stop acid production. In addition, lifestyle changes such as losing weight,
quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and eating smaller meals might help.
If you have these symptoms regularly, it may be time to see your doctor.
Effective treatment can reduce the risk of other health problems.