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Heartburn & GERD

Heartburn is the most common symptom of a disease called GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is a serious condition which can interfere with your quality of life. For many, symptoms are mild and relief can be found. For some, GERD is a daily, severe problem with lifelong implications.

Do You Have GERD?

Over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month; 25 million Americans experience it daily. In the Houston area, it is estimated that approximately 375,000 people suffer from chronic heartburn. Are you one of these people?
If you think you have GERD, take this quick self-assessment. If you answer YES to one or more of these questions (symptoms), there is a good chance you may have GERD.

  • Do I get a burning feeling in the middle of my chest?
  • Do I often have a burning feeling after a meal or at night?
  • Does this burning feeling gets worse when I lie down or bend over?
  • Do over-the-counter medicines, such as acid reducers or antacids, help the burning go away?
  • Do I frequently regurgitate (burp up) my food?
  • Is there a bitter or sour taste in the back of my throat?

A Comprehensive Approach to GERD and Heartburn Treatment

At Memorial Hermann, we take a comprehensive approach to treating GERD since many don't find relief through standard treatments. Our treatment options are customized to each individual, and may include:

  • Lifestyle Changes, like bed blocks, nutritional counseling, and weight loss
  • Medications, like antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Minimally-invasive surgery, like laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication and TIF procedure (transoral incisionless fundoplication)

Testing and Evaluation for GERD

Thorough evaluations performed at Memorial Hermann help Houston GERD sufferers understand their treatment options. We provide a visual, microscopic, physiologic and functional evaluation of GERD and the esophagus. Diagnostic tests include:

  • Visual evaluation through endoscopy
  • Microscopic evaluation with biopsies
  • Physiologic evaluation including ambulatory pH Testing (Bravo® Receivers, endoscopic ultrasounds, etc.)
  • Functional evaluation like esophageal manometry

How is Acid Reflux Different Than GERD?

Acid Reflux is closely related to GERD, but the terms aren't necessarily interchangeable. Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach. Acid reflux is more specifically known as gastroesophageal reflux. If you have frequent, ongoing heartburn, you may have a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a condition in which contents of the stomach or small intestine repeatedly move back up into the esophagus (the tube connecting the throat to the stomach).