Are Acid Reflux and GERD The Same Thing?

Have you ever sat up in bed in a hurry because a sour liquid starting filling your mouth? Maybe you’ve had to throw up in the middle of meals because you can’t swallow your food? Either way, the experience is less than ideal and can be a real embarrassment.

These are common situations for many people, but is it caused by acid reflux or GERD? And, what can you do about it?

Similar Symptoms

Acid reflux is usually thought of as heartburn. It’s a common condition in our fast-food, fast-lifestyle. We eat and run, sometimes simultaneously. We don’t chew our food thoroughly so how can we possibly digest it properly?

Issues that usually occur as a result of these grab-and-go eating habits are often brushed off instead of treated during their earliest stages. We pop over the counter medications and antacids and think it will go away, only to discover too late that the symptoms continue to get worse.

What’s the Real Difference?

Acid Reflux vs GERD

Acid reflux is a regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. It causes a sour taste in the back of your throat, coughing, and a burning pain in the chest especially when lying down.

GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Whereas acid reflux is a common condition, GERD is a chronic and more serious disease believed to be caused by frequent reflux. If left unchecked, it can result in serious injury to the lining of the esophagus or even cancer.

If you have acid reflux issues more than 2 times a week, you most likely have GERD.

GERD symptoms are similar to acid reflux but more serious.

  • Regurgitating food
  • Heartburn
  • Sour taste in mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain especially at night
  • Bad breath
  • Damage to tooth enamel from the excess acid exposure

Anyone Can Have GERD

Infants, children, teens, and adults can all experience GERD. In fact, 70-85% of infants experience regurgitation in their first few months. Most grow out of it, but parents should be aware of the effects even in young children and talk to a specialists if the condition worsens over time.

Make Some Changes

You can control the symptoms of both GERD and acid reflux. Changes in your lifestyle can help relieve your symptoms. These recommended lifestyle changes include maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating smaller meals, avoiding fatty and fried foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, chocolate and alcohol. Don’t lie down too soon after eating, and try to sleep with your head slightly raised.

See Dr. Dan Lister if you are experiencing frequent symptoms of acid reflux or GERD. After an evaluation, Dr. Lister will be able to determine whether you have simple acid reflux or GERD, and will then be able to begin providing comprehensive treatment options that best suit your needs.