Is It Heartburn or Something More?
Heartburn can be caused by a variety of factors. It is usually directly related to something you ate or drank, such as spicy food, soda, or caffeinated beverages. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not the same as heartburn. While the two terms may seem interchangeable, GERD usually requires some form of intervention, albeit medicinal or lifestyle changes, to resolve. If GERD is severe, it can lead to a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, which requires ongoing surveillance and possible medical treatment.
The thing is, not everyone understands what GERD really is and how it can impact your quality of life. In this post, you will learn more about GERD, its risks, and what steps you can take if you think you have it.
What Causes GERD?
There is no one specific cause of GERD. Some patients develop reflux disease due to obesity while others may experience symptoms due to pregnancy, hiatal hernia, or dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
What are the Symptoms of GERD?
Some of the hallmark symptoms of GERD are heartburn, which may present as burning in the chest and throat. Other symptoms may include:
- Regurgitation of food or stomach acid.
- Sore throat.
- Difficulty swallowing or feeling a lump in your throat.
- Chronic hoarseness.
Possible Complications of GERD
If left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious medical conditions, including:
- Chronic esophagitis: Inflammation of the esophagus.
- Barrett's esophagus: Mucosal changes that can lead to malignancy.
- Esophageal stricture: Narrowing of the esophagus.
Some patients also develop worsening asthma or chronic night-time symptoms of cough and acid regurgitation.
Treatment of GERD
Receiving the right treatment starts with proper diagnosis. If you have been suffering from heartburn that does not respond to lifestyle changes or over-the-counter antacids, the physicians at GPDCC can help. To schedule an appointment, contact our New York City office at 212-979-3237.