It can be hard to distinguish. Everyone experiences heartburn occasionally after a big, spicy or greasy meal, but you should be aware that your heartburn could be telling a different story. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when stomach acids and fluids flow back into the esophagus repeatedly. This is a fairly common disorder that affects approximately 20 percent of adults, but GERD can lead to serious problems like ulcers and damage to the esophagus if left untreated.
So how can you tell if what you are actually experiencing is GERD?
- Persistent Symptoms – Your heartburn occurs more than 2 times per week.
- Sleeping Problems – Your heartburn is severe enough to wake you up at night.
- Heartburn Occurs with Other Symptoms – these may include a bitter taste in your mouth, stomach pain, a feeling of food stuck in your throat or chronic sore throat
GERD can usually be managed with medication and certain lifestyle changes. If you suspect that your heartburn is actually GERD in disguise, you should contact your doctor. The Woman’s Clinic wants you to live your healthiest life. We will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have regarding heartburn and GERD.