Are Acid Reflux and GERD the Same Thing?


Many individuals hear the expressions “GERD” and “acid reflux” and wonder if there is any difference between the two. On the surface, GERD and acid reflux can seem to cause the same main symptom — a burning pain in the chest or "heartburn." There is more to it than that, though. What, then, are the differences between the two?

The GI doctors at GastroGroup and Endocenter can help you discern the difference between digestive conditions so you can optimize your GI and general health. Our Louisiana digestive health specialists want you to understand enough about your health to make decisions that benefit you.

What is the cause of acid reflux?

When swallowing, your food will migrate from your esophagus to your stomach through the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). Sometimes, the lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close fully and allows the acid formed during this step to make its way back into the esophagus. This acid reflux is what causes that heartburn sensation.

There can be a number of reasons the LES doesn’t close all the way. This is often due to weakness in an individual’s lower esophageal sphincter. Some explanations for this are:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Specific medications
  • A high-fat, low-fiber diet
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Eating a lot of spicy foods
  • Obesity

GERD vs. acid reflux

If you experience heartburn more than 2 – 3 times a week or if acid reflux medications don’t reduce your symptoms, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Our GastroGroup and Endocenter team members are here to help you understand your symptoms and determine if you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or something else. It could take a bit of experimentation to discover the right method of treatment that helps alleviate your acid reflux symptoms. However, our team is here to help you find a solution.

How can GERD be treated?

If you are searching for GERD treatment in Louisiana, there are various methods we may want to try. Initially, we will review your current medications and health history to determine if we should adjust your medications. Some common lifestyle adjustments we might suggest include:

  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Eat slowly
  • Sleep with your head raised
  • Sit up after each meal
  • Don’t eat three hours before going to sleep
  • Adjust your diet to include foods high in fiber and avoid foods that include citrus, high fat, or spice
  • Lose weight if needed

In the event you don’t get relief from your acid reflux relief after attempting one or more of these methods, there are other treatments you may want to consider. Some options could include prescription-strength antacids or surgery as a last resort.

Find relief from acid reflux and GERD symptoms in Louisiana

The GI specialists at GastroGroup and Endocenter can diagnose and treat many gastrointestinal ailments, such as moderate-to-severe acid reflux. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or want to find a way to manage your acid reflux, our gastroenterologists are here to help. To learn more about how our team of GI doctors can work with you to find relief from your chronic heartburn, reach out to one of our locations in Louisiana at your earliest convenience.

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