Although GERD and acid reflux are closely related, they are not exactly the same.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux refers to the backward flow of the stomach acid into the esophagus.
If you are suffering from acid reflux, it’s not uncommon to taste sour liquid or regurgitated food at the back of your throat. In many cases, it can also cause a burning sensation in the chest (also known as heartburn).
Acid reflux is very common, affecting about 3 million adults in the U.S. every year. It usually happens as a result of stomach abnormality called hiatal hernia.
In hiatal hernia, the upper part of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) move above the diaphragm. This causes the stomach acid to move up into the esophagus, causing the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Acid reflux can be easily managed through lifestyle modifications. However, if you’re experiencing it in most days of the week, then you may be having something more serious, like GERD.
What is GERD?
GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the LES is weak or opens inappropriately. Normally, the LES opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to keep food and stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.
There are several factors that can contribute to GERD. These include fatty or fried food, coffee, alcohol, smoking, obesity, and pregnancy.
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. Sometimes, it can last up to 2 hours and usually feels worse after eating.
Initially, lifestyle changes are advised for those with GERD. This includes avoiding foods and beverages that can affect the LES and quitting smoking.
If the acid reflux persists, doctors usually recommend the use of medications. For chronic cases of GERD, an endoscopy may be needed to find out the severity and underlying cause of the patient’s GERD. If the condition can no longer be controlled by medication, surgical treatment may be recommended. Premier Surgical surgeons specialize in antireflux procedures to treat GERD.
Are you suffering from heartburn?