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Heartburn and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Understanding Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents flow back up into the esophagus. Refluxed stomach acid that touches the lining of the esophagus can cause heartburn. Also called acid indigestion, heartburn is an uncomfortable, burning feeling in the chest, behind the breastbone, or in the upper part of the abdomen.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious, chronic form of acid reflux. Reflux which occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks could be GERD, and overtime if left untreated, can lead to more serious health problems including bleeding ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, Barrett’s Esophagus, and esophageal cancer. Some other common symptoms of GERD include:

  • Dry, chronic cough
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma and recurrent pneumonia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat, hoarseness, or laryngitis—swelling and irritation of the voice box
  • Difficulty swallowing or painful swallowing
  • Dental erosion and bad breath

Diagnosing GERD

One way to test for GERD is to have an upper endoscopic procedure called an EGD. An EGD is a procedure in which a thin scope with a light and camera at its tip is used to look inside of the upper digestive tract. To diagnose GERD, your physician looks directly at the esophagus and stomach and removes a tissue sample for analysis.

Make an Appointment

The Endoscopy/Procedure Center is home to state-of-the-art technology used to detect a wide array of digestive problems, such as acid reflux, stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, colon polyps, early signs of cancers and more. Call 734-458-3343 for more information or if you need assistance scheduling your appointment. Need a GCH Health Expert? Visit Find a Physician or call 877-717-9355.