When many individuals hear the terms “GERD” and “acid reflux,” they often wonder if these are the same condition or whether there is a difference. In general, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and acid reflux seem to cause the same primary symptom — heartburn. There is a little more to it than just heartburn, though. What, then, are the differences between these conditions?

The team at Gastroenterology Consultants can help you understand these and other digestive conditions so you can optimize your gastrointestinal (GI) and general health. Our Houston, TX digestive health specialists want you to be knowledgeable enough about your options to make decisions that are right for you.

What causes acid reflux?

After swallowing, food and liquids move down the esophagus and into your stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter, often referred to as the LES. Sometimes, the LES does not fully close, allowing the acid formed during this step to push back up into the esophagus. This acid is what causes the feeling of “heartburn” many suffer.

There may be various reasons the LES does not close properly, but it is typically due to weakness in the LES. Some causes for this weakness may include:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications
  • A diet that includes spicy or fatty foods
  • A diet high in fat and low in fiber

GERD vs. acid reflux

If you experience heartburn 2 – 3 times or more a week or if medications do not suppress acid reflux symptoms, it is possible you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Our Gastroenterology Consultants team is here to help you understand your symptoms and determine if you are suffering from GERD or another condition. It can sometimes take a bit of trial and error to find the right treatment to alleviate acid reflux or GERD symptoms; however, our team of providers is here to help you find relief.

How can GERD be treated?

We take a personalized approach to treating GERD in Houston, TX patients. To begin, we will review your current medications and your general health to determine if any of your daily medications might be adjusted. We might also suggest lifestyle modifications, such as:

  • Adjust your diet to include foods high in fiber
  • Avoid citrus, high-fat, and spicy foods
  • Drink less caffeine
  • Sit up after you eat
  • Finish eating three hours before going to bed
  • Eat slowly
  • Sleep with your head raised
  • Lose weight if suggested by your doctor

If you do not get relief after attempting one or more of these suggestions, there are other treatment strategies we may try. Some of these include prescription-strength medications or a surgical procedure (generally as a last resort).

Find relief from GERD and acid reflux symptoms in Houston, TX

The GI specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants are experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of gastrointestinal ailments, like acid reflux and GERD. If you have GERD or are searching for a beneficial way to treat your acid reflux, you have several options. For more information on how our team of GI doctors can assist you in finding relief from chronic heartburn, please contact one of our locations in Houston, TX today

Call Now Button