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

Heartburn Prevention

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.