by Jason Hallman November 30, 2015
Misery loves company, right?
If that old saying is true, then people who suffer from a stomach condition known as either simply Reflux or (not so simply) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD for short, do have plenty of company. Consider these statistics. Sixty percent of the adult population will experience some type of GERD within a 12-month period, and 20 to 30 percent will have weekly symptoms. Approximately seven million people in the United States have some symptoms of GERD. If you are one of them, you probably know what it is. And having plenty of company doesn’t make the misery this conditions causes any better. The good news is that taking action does.
GERD happens when the acid that is normally in your stomach backs up into the esophagus. The symptoms include:
- Burning in the chest, known as heartburn
- Burning in the throat or an acid taste in the throat
- Stomach or chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Having a raspy voice or a sore throat
- Unexplained cough
What To Do
Some people can manage their acid reflux on their own by changing their eating habits or taking nonprescription medicines. You should see a doctor if:
Your symptoms are severe or last a long time You cannot seem to control your symptoms on your own Have trouble swallowing, or feel as though food gets “stuck” on the way down Lose weight when you are not trying to Have chest pain Choke when you eat
Treatments for GERD include medicines that work to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced. Depending upon your symptoms, a doctor also might need to perform an upper endoscopy which allows direct visualization of the esophagus and stomach.