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Stop suffering from painful reflux disorders. Our specialists can help you get relief and get back to living your life without worrying about your next flare-up.
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Acid reflux vs GERD.
While these two digestive disorders are related, they are different conditions with different symptoms and treatments.
Wondering if you are at risk for GERD? Find out now.
Acid reflux is caused by the backwards flow of food or stomach acids. Typically, your esophagus squeezes the food down into your stomach where it is met by acids and digestive juices. The tell-tale burning feeling you get during reflux is when your system works in reverse and the contents of your stomach start flowing back upward.
Treatment for acid reflux often includes over-the-counter or prescription medication.
Symptoms of acid reflux.
- Tasting food or acid in the back of your mouth or throat.
GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a severe, chronic form of reflux.
It is sometimes caused when the valve at the end of your esophagus — called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES — becomes weak and stays open, or relaxed, when it should be closed.
GERD can also be caused by a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the LES and the upper portion of your stomach move above your diaphragm. Your diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach and your chest, typically helps keep stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs. When a hiatal hernia pushes above your diaphragm, it allows stomach acid to flow into your esophagus.
Severe reflux symptoms.
- Heartburn several times a week.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Difficulty speaking.
- Dry cough.
- Feeling like there is a lump in your throat or undigested food that you can’t seem to swallow.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain that worsens when laying down.
Treatment for GERD depends on whether or not you have a hiatal hernia and can include medication, certain outpatient procedures, or minimally invasive surgery.
How to manage your reflux.
There are several changes you can make at home to prevent reflux symptoms or ease your discomfort once they begin. For some mild cases of reflux, these lifestyle changes may be all you need to keep symptoms at bay.
- Avoid certain foods that cause reflux or make it worse, including coffee, chocolate, tomatoes and spicy or greasy food.
- Eat smaller meals.
- Avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime.
- Do not smoke, or look into quitting.
- Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes and belts.