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GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a digestive disorder. It is caused when gastric acid from your stomach flows back up into your food pipe or esophagus.
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD.
GERD happens when gastric acid from your stomach backs up into your food pipe or esophagus.
A muscle at the bottom of the esophagus opens to let food in and closes to keep food in the stomach. This muscle is called the LES or lower esophageal sphincter. When your LES relaxes too often or for too long, acid backs up into your esophagus. This causes heartburn.
Some lifestyle issues that can cause GERD may include:
Some health problems that may cause heartburn may include:
You may be more at risk for GERD if you:
Heartburn, also called acid indigestion, or acid reflux, is the most common symptom of GERD. Heartburn is a burning chest pain that starts behind your breastbone and moves up to your neck and throat. It can last as long as 2 hours. It often feels worse after you eat. Lying down or bending over can also cause heartburn.Another common symptom of GERD is regurgitation. Some people can have trouble swallowing.
Heartburn is not a GERD symptom for most children younger than 12 years old, and for some adults. They may have a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing instead
Each person’s symptoms may vary. GERD symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
To see if you have GERD, your healthcare provider will give you a physical exam and ask about your past health.Some people with typical symptoms may be treated without further testing.
Other tests for GERD may include the following:
Your healthcare provider will make a care plan for you based on:
In many cases making diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce GERD symptoms. Always check with your healthcare provider before making any changes.
If you have GERD, be careful about what you eat and drink. Don’t have too much of the following:
You should also:
Be sure to check any medicines you are taking. Some may cause problems with the lining of your stomach or esophagus. You may also want to talk to your healthcare provider about:
If GERD is not treated, it can lead to other health problems. These may include:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.