When a little heartburn turns into GERD


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Those who have large meals, especially during the holiday season when the tendency is to indulge more than usual, can expect a little heartburn. But if your heartburn gets worse or becomes a common occurrence even when you don’t overeat, it can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and you’ll have to take a trip to your doctor.


What is GERD?

GERD is a common disorder that occurs when the contents of the stomach repeatedly flow back into the esophagus. Symptoms can include chronic or persistent heartburn or regurgitation, trouble swallowing, sore throat or hoarseness in the morning.

This GERD Awareness Week, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) shares some quick tips on how to get ready for your appointment if you are experiencing the symptoms of GERD.

Be prepared to share these things with your doctor:

  • A list of when your heartburn occurs (time of day, after meals, etc.) and how often
  • The severity of your heartburn
  • Other symptoms you are experiencing
  • How your symptoms affect your daily activities
  • How your symptoms affect your sleep
  • What changes in diet and lifestyle choices you have made to relieve your symptoms, and how effective this has been in providing relief
  • What antacids and other over-the-counter medications you have used, and what relief, if any, they have provided

GERD Awareness Week is November 22–28, 2015, and takes place each year during the week of Thanksgiving.