Do you know the difference between heartburn and GERD?

Do you know the difference between heartburn and GERD?

It's a burning sensation in the chest that many feel after consuming certain food and drinks.

Frequently adults associate this feeling with that of heartburn.

But according to physicians, it may be due to something called GERD.

"GERD stands for gastro-esophageal re-flux disease," says David Ensz, a family physician with Mercy Medical Center. "It's basically when the acid, which is normally supposed to stay in the stomach, causes either symptoms of acid production in the stomach, or it can actually be regurgitated into the esophagus."

Ensz describes the difference between heartburn and GERD, in that heartburn is the symptom of the acid in the esophagus and GERD is the diagnosis.

A lot of times, it is what we eat or drink that causes the symptoms.

"Carbonated beverages can, beer, spicy foods, sometimes peppermint, in some folks caffeinated beverages can actually make it worse," says Ensz.

Anyone can suffer from GERD or heartburn, including babies and senior citizens.

Doctors don't have a problem with over-the-counter medications.

It's the consistency they worry about.

"If you are taking TUMS every day or if you are taking over the counter GERD or heartburn medication for more than two or three weeks, you really need to get checked out to make sure it isn't something more severe," says Ensz.

If symptoms are really severe, doctors will sometimes order an endoscopy to be conducted.

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