Get a grip on GERD

Published On: Dec 18 2012 04:03:53 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 03 2013 10:48:13 PM EST

By Barbara Floria, Pure Matters

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The lining of the esophagus can’t handle these caustic substances, so the esophagus becomes inflamed and you feel symptoms of chronic heartburn, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Certain foods, smoking, alcohol, and some medications can make the condition more common. In addition, increased abdominal pressure because of obesity or pregnancy raises the risk for GERD.

What to look for

These are symptoms of GERD:

If you have several of these symptoms, see your health care provider. Pain that feels like heartburn also can be a symptom of coronary artery disease.

What to do

To prevent the symptoms of GERD:

How it's treated

Most people with GERD find relief with appropriate self-care and taking over-the-counter medications, such as Mylanta, Pepcid AC, or Zantac, or prescription medications, such as Nexium. People with severe GERD symptoms or people who have complications such as asthma or pneumonia may need surgery.