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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder caused by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to the stomach. GERD can be caused by weakness in the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus (sphincter), problems with the motion of the esophagus (dysmotility), and sometimes a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is when the upper part of the stomach moves into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm. An upper endoscopy (EGD) is usually part of the evaluation and treatment of GERD.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained cough
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Respiratory problems such as wheezing
  • The wearing away of your teeth

Treatment Options:

Generally, the treatment options for GERD include lifestyle changes, like losing weight, quitting smoking and changing your diet. Elevating the head of the bed at night can also help. Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, are often part of the treatment regimen.