Commonly known as GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.

Quick Facts


  • Feeling that food may be left trapped behind the breastbone
  • Heartburn or a burning pain in the chest (under the breastbone)
  • Increased by bending, stooping, lying down, or eating
  • More likely to be worse at night
  • Relieved by antacids
  • Nausea after eating

Common Causes:

  • Foods and beverages which may trigger your symptoms, including:
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Chocolate
    • Citrus fruits and juices
    • Tomatoes and tomato products
    • Spicy or fatty foods
    • Full-fat dairy products
    • Peppermint, spearmint
  • Obesity
  • Cigarettes
  • Medications


  • Medical history review and review of symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Upper endoscopy, or EGD
  • Barium swallow
  • Continuous esophageal pH monitoring
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Stool occult blood test

Common Treatments:

  • Avoid foods and beverages that may trigger your symptoms
  • Avoid bending over or exercising just after eating
  • Avoid garments or belts that fit tightly around your waist
  • Do not lie down with a full stomach
  • Do not smoke
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Reduce weight if overweight
  • Reduce stress

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