Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also know as GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle at the end of the esophagus doesn't close properly. This causes stomach acid used for digestion to back up, or reflux into the lower esophagus. When stomach acid comes in contact with the lining of the esophagus, it can cause heartburn, among other symptoms. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn or GERD symptoms at least once a month. To help treat and prevent GERD, take action by following these simple steps.
Check Your Symptoms
If you experience heartburn two or more times a week, you probably have GERD. Classic symptoms include: sour taste in the mouth; burning in the throat; stomach acid rising; chest pain; and burping.
Other more “silent” symptoms of acid reflux/GERD include: trouble swallowing, dry cough, hoarseness and the sensation of a lump in your throat. Many people with these symptoms of silent reflux never experience classic symptoms.
To determine for sure if you have GERD, see your doctor. Left untreated, GERD can lead to more severe health conditions including esophageal cancer.