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What is GERD?

While experiencing occasional heartburn and acid reflux is normal, symptoms surfacing consistently more than twice a week could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD symptoms may affect patients differently and involve symptoms which may vary from mild to moderate to severe. You may experience any of the typical and atypical symptoms listed below:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Soreness of Chest and Throat/Throat Clearing
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Persistent Cough

What Causes Reflux?

Reflux is caused by changes in the gastroescophageal valve (GEV) that allows acid to flow back from the stomach into the esophagus. The GEV is the body’s natural antireflux barrier.

Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of GERD-related symptoms, treatment may involve the following:

  • Lifestyle Modifications - Dietary and lifestyle changes may help mild GERD sufferers with infrequent symptoms find relief.
  • Medical Therapy - Over the counter and prescribed pharmaceuticals provide temporary relief, but do not treat the underlying anatomical problem or stop the disease from worsening. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), the most effective medical therapy for GERD, are generally approved for eight weeks of use. While safe and effective for most patients, studies evaluating long-term PPI use demonstrate a series of undesirable side effects – visit for more information.
  • Antireflux Surgery - Conventional antireflux surgery has been long considered an effective solution to treating GERD, but typically includes side effects such as difficulty swallowing (26%), bloating (36%) and increased flatulence (65%).
  • Incisionless TIF Procedure - The TIF procedure for reflux treats the underlying cause of GERD without incisions. This procedure rebuilds the antireflux valve and restores the body’s natural protection against reflux. Learn more.

This content was last medically reviewed in May 2022 by Sharlotte Manley, MSN, FNP, Erlanger Gastroenterology.