Gerd - Gastroesophageal reflux disease


Provided by the GERD Health Channel on eMedTV.com

Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it.

You may feel a burning in the chest or throat called heartburn. Sometimes, you can taste stomach fluid in the back of the mouth. If you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you may have GERD. You can also have GERD without having heartburn. Your symptoms could include a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing.

Anyone, including infants and children, can have GERD. If not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In some cases, you might need medicines or surgery. However, many people can improve their symptoms by

Avoiding alcohol and spicy, fatty or acidic foods that trigger heartburn
Eating smaller meals
Not eating close to bedtime
Losing weight if needed
Wearing loose-fitting clothes

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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