Have you ever sat up in bed in a hurry because a sour liquid starting filling your mouth? Maybe you’ve had to throw up in the middle of meals because you can’t swallow your food? Either way, the experience is less than ideal and can be a real embarrassment.
These are common situations for many people, but is it caused by acid reflux or GERD? And, what can you do about it?
Acid reflux is usually thought of as heartburn. It’s a common condition in our fast-food, fast-life style. We eat and run, sometimes simultaneously. We don’t chew our food thoroughly so how can we possibly digest it properly. Many of you can hear mom right now telling you to “slow down and eat.”
Some lessons don’t stick so we suffer for it. We pop over the counter medications and antacids and think it will go away. But the symptoms continue.
Acid reflux is a regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. It causes a sour taste in the back of your throat, coughing, and a burning pain in the chest especially when lying down.
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Whereas acid reflux is a common condition, GERD is a chronic and more serious disease believed to be caused by frequent reflux. If left unchecked, it can result in serious injury to the lining of the esophagus or even cancer.
If you have acid reflux issues more than 2 times a week, you most likely have GERD.
GERD symptoms are similar to acid reflux but more serious.
- Regurgitating food
- Sour taste in mouth
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain especially at night
- Bad breath
- Damage to tooth enamel from excess acids
Anyone Can Have GERD
Infants, children, and teens can experience GERD. In fact, 70-85% of infants experience regurgitation in their first few months. Most grow out of it, but parents should be aware of the effects even in young children and talk to your pediatrician.
Make Some Changes
You can control the symptoms of both GERD and acid reflux. Lose some weight, stop smoking, eat smaller meals, avoid fatty and fried foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, chocolate, and alcohol. Don’t lie down too soon after eating, and it is helpful to sleep with your head slightly raised.
See a doctor if you are experiencing frequent symptoms. After an evaluation, your physician can determine whether you have simple acid reflux or GERD, and prescribe medications to reduce the acid and alleviate your symptoms.