Are GERD and Acid Reflux Different?


Many individuals think the expressions “GERD” and “acid reflux” are synonymous. At surface level, these conditions do seem to have the same primary symptom — heartburn. However, there is actually more to it than that. What, then, are the differences between the two?

The GI providers at Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates can help you understand the differences between these conditions so you can focus on your GI and general health. Our Lubbock, TX digestive health specialists want you to be confident enough about your options to make sound decisions that can help you.

What causes acid reflux?

When swallowing, your food will pass from your esophagus into your stomach through the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). In some cases, the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t fully close, and the acid from this process flows back into the esophagus. This backflow of acid causes that heartburn many live with.

There may be various reasons the lower esophageal sphincter cannot close all the way. It is often the result of a loss of strength in the lower esophageal sphincter. Some reasons for this involve:

  • Cigarette smoking or other tobacco use
  • A high-fat diet
  • Alcohol
  • A diet that includes spicy foods
  • Obesity
  • Too much caffeine
  • Certain medications

Acid reflux vs. gastroesophageal reflux disease

If you have experienced heartburn 2 – 3 times or more a week or if heartburn medications don’t suppress your heartburn, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Our Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates gastroenterologists are here to help you understand these symptoms and determine if you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or another condition. It may take a little bit of trial and error to discover a treatment method that helps alleviate your symptoms. However, our GI specialists are here to help you during treatment.

How can GERD be treated?

When you’re seeking out GERD treatment in Lubbock, TX, there are a variety of treatment methods we could try. Initially, we will review your medications and health history to establish if we can adjust any of your daily meds. Some simple changes you can make include:

  • Eat slower than normal
  • Sleep with your head raised
  • Reduce how much caffeine you drink
  • Adjust your diet to more high-fiber foods and less citrus, foods high-fat, and spicy foods
  • Lose weight if needed
  • Stay sitting up after you eat
  • Don’t eat three hours before going to sleep

In the event you don’t find acid reflux relief after trying at least one of these modifications, there are more treatment strategies you may consider. Some of these could include prescription-strength antacids or, typically as a last resort, surgery.

Get relief from acid reflux and GERD symptoms in Lubbock, TX

The GI doctors at Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates are experienced in diagnosing and treating many gastrointestinal disorders, such as acid reflux. If you’re experiencing acid reflux or looking for an effective way to manage your GERD, several options are available. For more information on how our team of GI doctors can work with you to find relief from your chronic heartburn, call one of our locations in Lubbock, TX today.

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