What Is Acid Reflux or GERD?

Q:
What Is Acid Reflux or GERD?

A:
Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Specifically acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux. When acid reflux occurs, you may taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of your mouth or feel a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn).

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more severe form of acid relux. Its symptoms may include:

  • Frequent heartburn
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Coughing and wheezing;
  • Chest pain — especially while lying down at night.

If you have acid reflux sometimes, lifestyle changes can help, such as:

  • Lose excess weight;
  • Eat smaller meals;
  • Avoid foods that seem to trigger heartburn — such as fried or fatty foods, chocolate, and peppermint;
  • Avoiding alcohol and nicotine

If necessary, you can also take some over over-the-counter medication, including:

  • Antacids, such as Tums
  • H-2-receptor blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB) or famotidine (Pepcid AC)
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec OTC)

If your signs and symptoms worsen (experienceing nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing), please talk to your doctor immediately.

 

Keywords: acid reflux; GERD

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