Also called acid reflux, heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD occurs when stomach acid or bile flows upward into the esophagus or food pipe and irritates the esophageal lining. Many people have this condition occasionally, but it’s not considered GERD unless it occurs more than twice weekly. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Burning pain in chest (heartburn), often after eating, may be worse when lying down
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
- Sensation of a lump in your throat
GERD is treatable
The good news is that GERD is a treatable disease. If treated properly, there are usually no more serious complications. People diagnosed with GERD are strongly advised to avoid fried foods, full-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter, desserts such as ice cream or potato chips, oily or greasy foods, acidic fruits and cream sauces, gravies and creamy salad dressings. People with GERD are advised to eat more vegetables, non-acidic fruits, ginger, avocados and high-quality fiber to help ease their symptoms.
While most people with GERD can manage their symptoms and even resolve their condition through lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, some may need more aggressive interventions such as stronger prescription medications and, in some cases, surgery.