What Is GERD?
If you often feel a painful burning sensation in your chest after you eat, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Heartburn is a classic symptom of GERD, but you may have other symptoms as well.
Note: Chest pain may also be caused by heart problems. Be sure to have all chest pain evaluated by a doctor.
When You Have a Reflux Problem
After you eat, food travels from your mouth down the esophagus to your stomach. Along the way, food passes through a one-way valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), located at the opening to your stomach. Normally the LES opens when you swallow. It allows food to enter the stomach, then closes quickly. With GERD, the LES doesn’t work normally. It allows food and stomach acid to travel back (reflux) into the esophagus.
Some Common Symptoms
Frequent heartburn or burping
Sour-tasting fluid backing up into your mouth
Symptoms that get worse after you eat, bend over, or lie down
Difficulty or pain when swallowing
A dry, chronic cough
Nausea or vomiting
Relieving Your Discomfort
You and your health care provider can work together to find the treatment options that best relieve your symptoms. These may include lifestyle changes, medication, and possibly surgery.