Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing classic heartburn, other symptoms, or it can even damage the esophagus.
The most common symptoms of GERD include heartburn (a burning pain in the chest under the breastbone), nausea after eating, regurgitation, and belching. Complications of uncontrolled GERD include asthma, Barrett’s Esophagus (a change in the lining of the esophagus that can increase the risk of cancer), chronic cough, hoarseness, dental problems, esophageal ulcers, and esophageal strictures (a narrowing of the esophagus due to scarring). While many patients may respond well to lifestyle changes, many patients require medications to control their disease.
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