Sometimes persistent heartburn can be Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and can lead to cancer of the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.
Many people experience acid reflux from time to time. GERD is mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs at least once a week. Most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But some people with GERD may need stronger medications or surgery to ease symptoms.
Acid reflux affects about 3 million U.S. adults each year. It is a condition where sour liquid or regurgitated food is present in the back of the throat, often causing a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn. If you’re experiencing acid reflux frequently, it could be a sign of something more serious like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It’s important to consult with a primary care doctor to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.
If you have nighttime acid reflux, you might also experience:
Common factors contributing to GERD you should discuss with your doctor:
Seek immediate medical care if you have chest pain, especially if you also have shortness of breath, or jaw or arm pain. These may be signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you: