Are Acid Reflux and GERD the Same or Different?


Commonly, people hear or see the phrases “GERD” and “acid reflux” and assume they're the same. While they do produce the same primary symptom — indigestion (commonly referred to as heartburn), there is actually more to it than that. What, then, are the differences between GERD and acid reflux?

The GI physicians at Connecticut GI want to help you have a basic understanding of the GI conditions so you can optimize your gastrointestinal and overall health. Our Connecticut digestive health specialists wish for you to be confident enough about your options to make decisions that are right for you.

What brings about acid reflux?

After swallowing, your food and drink will move from your esophagus into your stomach through the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). Sometimes, however, the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t completely close, and acid returns to the esophagus. This leads to the typical “heartburn” feeling many individuals experience.

There may be several reasons the LES doesn’t close completely, often related to weakness in an individual’s lower esophageal sphincter. Some reasons for this are:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications
  • A diet that includes high-fat or spicy foods
  • Too much caffeine
  • A diet full of fiber and fat

Gastroesophageal reflux disease vs. acid reflux

If you experience acid reflux symptoms a few times or more a week or if acid reflux medications don’t ease these feelings, you may be suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Our Connecticut GI providers are ready to help you understand these symptoms and establish if you are dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease or something different entirely. Discovering the right method to alleviate acid reflux or GERD symptoms may take some experimentation. However, our GI specialists are available to help you.

How is GERD treated?

If you are looking for GERD treatment in Connecticut, there are several methods we can try. Initially, we will look at your current medications and health history to decide if we should adjust your daily medications. Some other common adjustments we could recommend are:

  • Eat slower
  • Adjust your diet to include eating foods high in fiber and avoiding foods that include citrus, high fat, or spice
  • Lose weight if needed
  • Reduce how much caffeine you drink
  • Sleeping with your head raised
  • Sit up following each meal
  • Don’t eat three hours before going to sleep

In the event you don’t find relief from your symptoms after trying one or more of these modifications, there are other options you may want to try, which could include prescription-strength antacids or, as a last resort, surgery.

Get relief from acid reflux and GERD symptoms in Connecticut

Our GI specialists at Connecticut GI are skilled in diagnosing and treating several GI issues, including moderate-to-severe acid reflux. If you’re experiencing GERD or are searching for a way to ease your symptoms, there are options. For more information on how GI specialists can assist you when finding relief from your GERD symptoms, reach out to one of our locations in Connecticut today.

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