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FAQ about GERD

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What is GERD?

GERD is a disease caused by tissue damage resulting from the chronic reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. While the tissue lining the stomach is able to tolerate digestive agents such as the gastric acid, the lining of the esophagus is not. Therefore, when stomach contents regurgitate into the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation known as the heartburn.

How does GERD differ from plain old heartburn?

The problem is the same in heartburn and GERD. The condition is called GERD when it becomes frequent and persistent.

Why doesn’t everybody suffer from heartburn?

GERD only occurs in presence of the following: 

  • An incompetent LES.
  • Excess production of gastric acid.

Why does one always get heartburn at night?

usually starts about 30–60 minutes after a meal. Although it can occur at any time of day or night, the pain is usually worse when lying down, therefore, it is noticed more on lying down.

Can GERD lead to cancer?

Cancer of the esophagus secondary to GERD is rare, but its incidence is on the rise.

Does every patient suffering from GERD and heartburn require PPIs?

No. Majority of heartburn sufferers will benefit from lifestyle modifications and use of OTC antacids or H2RBs, when necessary.


Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: October 16, 2012