How Do GERD vs. Acid Reflux Differ?


Most people hear the expressions “GERD” and “acid reflux” and think they're the same thing. On the surface, they seem to have the same main symptom — indigestion (commonly referred to as heartburn). But there is a little more to their similarities than that. So what, exactly, are the differences between acid reflux and GERD?

The GI specialists at Digestive Health Center want to help you comprehend the differences between various GI conditions so you can optimize your gastrointestinal and general health. Our Thibodaux, LA digestive health specialists wish for you to feel knowledgeable enough about your GI health to make decisions that are right for you.

What brings on acid reflux?

When you swallow, your food and/or drink will move from your esophagus to your stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter, which is known as the LES. There are times when the lower esophageal sphincter will fail to close fully and allow stomach acid to make its way back up into the esophagus. This acid causes the common feeling of “heartburn” that many individuals experience.

There could be several reasons why the LES doesn’t close completely. This often occurs due to a loss of strength in an individual's LES. Some causes of this are:

  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Spicy and fatty foods
  • Specific medications
  • A diet high in fat and low in fiber
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Tobacco use

GERD vs. acid reflux

If you are someone who has experienced acid reflux symptoms more than a few times a week or if acid reflux medications don’t help your symptoms, it’s possible you may have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Our Digestive Health Center gastroenterologists are ready to help you understand these symptoms and determine if you are experiencing GERD or something else. It may take a bit of testing to find the right treatment that helps alleviate your symptoms; however, our providers are here to assist you during treatment.

How will my GERD be treated?

When you need treatment for GERD in Thibodaux, LA, there are a number of treatments we may want to try. Initially, we will likely look at the medications you’re taking and your general health to determine if we can adjust any of your meds. Some other changes we may recommend are:

  • Reduce how much caffeine you drink
  • Make adjustments to your diet, including foods high in fiber and avoiding citrus, high-fat, and spicy foods
  • Sleeping elevated
  • Eat slower than normal
  • Stay sitting up after you eat, and don’t eat three hours before bedtime
  • Lose weight if needed

If your acid reflux persists after trying several of these tips, don't worry — there are other treatments you can try. Some options may include prescribed antacids or, typically considered as a last resort, surgery.

Find relief from acid reflux and GERD symptoms in Thibodaux, LA

Our team of gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Center are experienced in diagnosing and treating several different GI conditions, such as acid reflux. If you have GERD or are searching for a beneficial way to manage your acid reflux, there are several options available to you. For more information on how we can work with you to find relief from GERD symptoms, contact one of our locations in Thibodaux, LA today.

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