We live in a high stress world - and there is part of us that thinks that heartburn is a “normal” part of that life. Well, occasional heartburn is certainly nothing to worry about; but, if you suffer from heartburn 2-3 times per week you may have a more serious condition that needs to be addressed. You could have GERD.
GERD is the acronym for reflux disease. Reflux is caused when the lower esophageal sphincter fails to function properly, stomach acid may come back up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation and irritating the lining of the esophagus. Similarly, if the pyloric sphincter at the bottom of the stomach fails to operate as it should, potent digestive juices such as bile and pepsin with partially digested food may move backward up into the stomach. It then may be regurgitated up into the esophagus, toward the throat/mouth. Chronic reflux can lead to damage in the lining of the esophagus, teeth, and lungs. If ignored for long enough, a precancerous condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus can develop.
So, don’t mask your symptoms by medicating yourself with over the counter antacids. Make an appointment with your doctor at GI Associates today and discover if your heartburn is more than just an unfortunate lunch decision.