Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) FAQs
Kathryn L Hale, MS, PA-C
Vincent W Yang, MD, PhD
Simmy Bank, MD, MB, ChB
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
BS Anand, MD
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease FAQs Introduction
The chest pain of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be confused with pain from a heart problem. If you have any of the following, call your doctor and/or go immediately to the closest hospital emergency department:
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the esophagus (food pipe) becomes irritated or inflamed by stomach contents, including acid, backing up from the stomach. This backing up is called reflux. The main symptom is heartburn, but other symptoms may occur.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning pain in the center of the chest, behind the breastbone (see Media file 1). It often starts in the upper abdomen and spreads up into the neck. It usually starts about 30-60 minutes after eating and can last as long as 2 hours. Lying down or bending over can bring on heartburn or make it worse. It is sometimes referred to as acid indigestion. Not everyone with GERD has heartburn.
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