What’s acid reflux and GERD?

Acid reflux happens when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus. It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux.

If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of acid reflux

Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, which can radiate up toward your neck. This feeling is often known as heartburn.

If you have acid reflux, you might develop a sour or bitter taste at the back of your mouth. It might also cause you to regurgitate food or liquid from your stomach into your mouth.

In some cases, GERD can cause difficulty swallowing. It can sometimes lead to breathing problems, like a chronic cough or asthma.

Causative Factors

Certain conditions can increase your chances of developing GERD, including:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Connective tissue disorders

Some lifestyle behaviors can also raise your risk of GERD, including:

  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals
  • Lying down or going to sleep shortly after eating
  • Eating certain types of foods, such as deep fried or spicy foods
  • Drinking certain types of beverages, such as soda, coffee, or alcohol
  • Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin or ibuprofen

If you have any of these risk factors, taking steps to modify them may help you prevent or manage GERD.