Suffer from heartburn? It could cause more than just a little discomfort.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition characterized by heartburn, a burning sensation often accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Many people experience heartburn from time to time due to eating spicy foods, but GERD is generally diagnosed when the muscle connecting the esophagus and stomach does not close correctly and heartburn occurs frequently.
In addition to a burning sensation in the chest and throat, common GERD symptoms include:
- Regurgitation of food or liquid
- Chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Frequent burping
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
GERD Complications Include Esophageal Cancer
Over time, GERD can cause the lining of the esophagus to be damaged by stomach acid. This causes the squamous cells that usually line the esophagus to be replaced with gland cells, which is known as Barrett's (or Barrett) esophagus. People with Barrett's esophagus have an increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus. GERD can also lead to ulcers, problems swallowing, increased choking risks, stomach bleeding, tooth decay from exposure to stomach acid, and more.
Do you suffer from frequent heartburn? The Reflux Center at Brandon Regional Hospital provides patients with personalized care plans from diagnosis through treatment. To learn more about the Reflux Center, visit us online or call (813) 655-GERD (4373).
For additional information about GERD, visit our online Health Library.