Acid Reflux

More than 60 million Americans experience acid reflux at least once a month. Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can produce a variety of symptoms. Although acid reflux is extremely common and rarely serious, don't ignore your acid reflux symptoms. Making a few lifestyle changes and using over-the-counter antacids are usually all you need to control acid reflux symptoms.

Quick Facts

Symptoms

  • Heartburn: Heartburn is a burning pain or discomfort that can move up from your stomach to the middle of your abdomen and chest. The pain can also move into your throat. 
  • Regurgitation: The sensation of acid backing up into your throat or mouth. Regurgitation can produce a sour or bitter taste, and you may experience a "wet burp" or even vomit some contents of your stomach.
  • Dyspepsia: Many people with acid reflux disease also have a syndrome called dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is a general term for stomach discomfort. Symptoms of dyspepsia include: Burping; Nausea after eating; Stomach fullness or bloating; Upper abdominal pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of acid reflux may be a sign that stomach acid has inflamed your esophagus. When that happens, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus and cause bleeding.

Common Causes

Acid reflux symptoms most often occur:

  • After eating a heavy meal
  • When bending over or lifting an object
  • When lying down, especially on your back

Certain foods can make the symptoms of acid reflux worse, such as: 

  • Citrus fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks or alcohol
  • Spicy, fatty, or fried foods
  • Garlic and onions
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes

Diagnosis

Your physician will review your medical history and symptoms with you. Here are some tests your doctor may want to conduct in order to more accurately diagnose and treat your ailments.

  • Upper Endoscopy: This procedure, usually done on an outpatient basis, allows your doctor to take a look inside your esophagus and stomach.
  • Esophageal pH Test: If your treatment for severe heartburn or GERD isn't working, you may need this test.
  • Esophageal Manometry: This test checks to see whether your esophagus is working properly.

Common Treatments

Treatment for acid reflux (GERD) and heartburn ranges from over-the-counter remedies to surgery.

Related Links