Heartburn or GERD?


Heartburn Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of this common digestive condition.


HeartburnHeartburn or acid reflux symptoms include chronic cough and chest pain and burning. Evaluate the triggers such as certain foods, medications, obesity or even stress can help prevent heartburn. Heartburn treatment may include medications, home remedies or diet changes.


Heartburn is a mild to severe pain in the chest that you may feel after eating a meal. It can be burning or tightening sensation, and bending over or lying down can make it feel worse. The term heartburn is somewhat a misnomer because the heart actually has nothing to do with the pain. Heartburn usually occurs in your digestive system specifically in the esophagus.

Heartburn Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of this common digestive condition.

A circular muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) lies between your esophagus and stomach. Muscle is in charge of closing your esophagus after food passes to the stomach. If this muscle is weak or will not close properly the acid from your stomach will goes into your esophagus. Acid causes a burning sensation in your chest which can be mistaken for heart attack pain because the lining of your esophagus is more delicate than the lining of your stomach.

Heartburn is quite common. Most people will experience it at some point in their lives usually after eating or at on bedtime. You may take medication such as an antacid to help relieve the pain, if you experience it periodically.

Lifestyle changes like avoiding spicy or acidic foods and losing weight, for example also manage heartburn. Heartburn can always happen to anyone at any age and is common during pregnancy.


GERD, or gastrointestinal reflux disease is more serious. Like heartburn GERD is a condition in which the contents of the stomach refluxes or flows back into the esophagus due to a problem with the LES. Unlike heartburn this condition occurs on a regular basis (one to two times a week) and the pain isn’t relieved with antacids or other over-the-counter medication.

Symptoms of GERD include:

♦  heartburn

♦  The feeling that the contents of the stomach have come back up to the throat or mouth

♦  chest pain

♦  dry cough

♦  asthma-like symptoms

♦  trouble swallowing

The symptoms of GERD can cause so much discomfort that they disrupt a person’s daily life. Treatment for GERD consists of strong medications and lifestyle changes such as diet modification, weight loss, or smoking cessation. Most of these medications target reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. Surgery is needed to help strengthen the LES in some cases.

Acid from the stomach can damage the lining of the esophagus if GERD is left untreated. This can cause bleeding, ulcers, or scarring, which can make swallowing difficult. The acid can also cause a change in the cells in the esophagus over time. This is called Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to often fatal esophageal cancer.

Acid Reflux, Heartburn, & GERD

♦  What Is Heartburn? Technically, heartburn is the symptom you feel when acid splashes up and out of the stomach. “Heartburn” is sometimes used interchangeably with “acid reflux.”

♦  What Is Acid Reflux? Acid reflux is when stomach acid splashes up from the stomach into the esophagus. Find out more about acid reflux disease, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments, and helpful diet and lifestyle tips.

♦  What Is GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)? GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is severe or chronic acid reflux that can lead to complications, such as cancer.

♦  Do I Have Heartburn or GERD? When constant heartburn turns into GERD, do you know how to spot the difference?

♦  Heartburn in Children and Infants Infants and children can experience that burning sensation in the chest. According to some estimates, about 2% of children ages 3 to 9, and 5% of children ages 10 to 17, have heartburn.

♦  Silent Reflux (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux) Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is similar to another condition GERD that results from the contents of the stomach backing up (reflux).