Heartburn vs. Acid Reflux vs. GERD

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This complex interaction between acid reflux and symptoms deserves further study to develop strategies to better control symptoms in reflux patients with difficult to control symptoms. Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle at the lower end of your esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. This can cause heartburn and other signs and symptoms. Frequent or constant reflux can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux disease, occurs when acid from the stomach refluxes into the esophagus causing symptoms like heartburn, trouble swallowing, or a burning taste in your throat.

“We’ve evolved from the days when you couldn’t eat anything,” Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one.

Taste changes and coughing can accompany the burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat. MNT describes ten ways to treat and prevent heartburn, as well as the risks and warning signs. Learn more here.

These juices, which are produced by the stomach to help the body break down food, contain a powerful acid called hydrochloric acid. While the stomach is naturally protected from this potent acid, the esophagus does not share the same protective qualities as the stomach.

Fructose intolerance and perhaps also FODMAP intolerance can be diagnosed with a hydrogen breath test using fructose and treated by elimination of fructose and/or FODMAP containing foods from the diet. Unfortunately, fructose and FODMAPs are widespread among fruits and vegetables, and fructose is found in high concentrations in many food products sweetened with corn syrup. Thus, an elimination diet can be difficult to maintain. Dietary fiber often is recommended for patients with IBS, but fiber has not been studied in the treatment of indigestion.

In fact, most drugs are reported to cause indigestion in at least some people with functional symptoms. Everyone knows that when they have mild abdominal discomfort, belching often relieves the problem. This is because excessive air in the stomach often is the cause of mild abdominal discomfort; as a result, people force belches whenever mild abdominal discomfort is felt, whatever the cause. Unfortunately, if there is no excessive gas to be expelled, forced belches do nothing more than draw air into the esophagus. Usually this air is expelled during the same belch (referred to as a supradiaphragmatic belch), but the air also may enter the stomach, and itself result in excess gas that must be expelled with additional belching.

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The interference with daily activities also can lead to problems with interpersonal relationships, especially with spouses. Most patients with functional disease live with their symptoms and infrequently visit physicians for diagnosis and treatment. It is important to educate patients with indigestion about their illness, particularly by reassuring them that the illness is not a serious threat to their physical health (though it may be to their emotional health). Patients need to understand the potential causes for the symptoms.

  • People who experience globus sensation also often have hoarseness, a chronic cough, or a persistent need to clear their throat, which are also common symptoms caused by GERD and acid reflux.
  • Acid reflux occurs when the acid produced in the stomach reaches the esophagus.
  • Secondly, but more important, esophageal manometry is applied for identifying the accurate location of LES in order to place reflux monitoring pH sensors.

The two can play off each other. Stress and other psychological traits of anxiety can increase acid reflux symptoms and acid reflux symptoms can cause anxiety to increase.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Indigestion?

Those with esophageal mucosal erosions/ulcers without reflux symptoms were categorized as the AEE group. Those without reflux symptoms and with normal endoscopic findings were categorized as the control group. Given this background, we examined the risk factors, particularly the psychological factors, associated with the subtypes of GERD in Koreans who underwent a health check-up. A clear understanding of the association between GERD and psychological factors is useful for administering optimal treatment in subjects with GERD because psychological factors can exacerbate GERD symptoms, worsen treatment outcomes, and interfere with the quality of life. When you swallow, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach.

Read about risk factors, including diet and lifestyle, and the many home remedies people can try. In the worst cases, acid reflux may lead to GERD or gastroesophogeal reflux disease or worse conditions. Although chest pain is often a symptom of acid reflux or GERD, do not hesitate to visit the doctor or the emergency room if it seems more serious. Have small, frequent meals. Don’t chow down on three large squares a day.

Dr. Charles “Pat” Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications. As a person swallows, muscles in the esophagus move the food down into the stomach. I have had a lot of issues with acid reflux and am always looking for remedies.

It is a revision of the Reflux Disease Questionnaire (RDQ) with positive predictor questions about heartburn and regurgitation as well as negative predictors about epigastric pain and nausea. It is reported that there is a sensitivity of 65% and specificity of 71% with GerdQ, which is close to the efficiency done by the clinical judgment of gastroenterologists [4]. However, presenting regurgitation should also be differentiated to gastroparesis or rumination syndrome. Except that, the physician should be aware of the proportion of patients with the atypical symptoms, such as retrosternal discomfort and pain, cough, asthma, hoarseness, throat discomfort, foreign body sensation in throat, globus sensation, belching, dysphagia, and epigastric pain and epigastric discomfort.

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