Heartburn and GERD
Is there a difference between heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)? Yes, chronic heartburn can lead to GERD which can cause more serious problems. BayCare has Heartburn Centers to detect a disorder early and treat your symptoms with care and excellence.
Heartburn occurs when acid from your stomach backs up into the esophagus. The esophagus does not have a lining which protects it from the acid, so it causes a burning feeling. It has nothing to do with the heart. Frequent and severe heartburn can lead to GERD which can result in cancer and other complications. Your doctor may suggest a minimally invasive anti-reflux surgery to correct the problem.
Symptoms to discuss with your doctor:
- Wake up with heartburn
- Heartburn for more than two weeks
- Difficulty swallowing
- Heartburn returns after taking over-the-counter antacids
The best way to prevent heartburn or GERD is to minimize the foods and activities which seem to prompt the condition in some people. Some general guidelines include:
- Eat slowly and do not overeat
- Stop smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Do not go to bed on a full stomach
- Minimize triggers such as onions, peppermint, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee, citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, or high-fat foods
Several BayCare hospitals have Heartburn Centers:
For more information or a physician referral, call (888) 487-9718 or find a doctor near you.