What is the Difference Between Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD

The terms heartburn, GERD, and acid reflux are typically used reciprocally. Nevertheless, they actually have really different meanings.  Acid reflux is a typical medical condition that may or might not be serious.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the chronic, more severe kind of acid reflux. Heartburnis a symptom of GERD and acid reflux.

What Is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a mild to severe pain in the chest. It generally takes place after eating a meal. It can be a burning or tightening up sensation. Bending over or lying down can make it feel even worse.

The term “heartburn” is rather misleading. The heart actually has absolutely nothing to do with the pain. Heartburn happens in your digestive system. Particularly, it takes place in the esophagus. It’s sometimes mistaken for heart attack pain.



Heartburn is quite common. According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn a minimum of when a month.

You might be able to manage your heartburn by:

  • reducing weight
  • stopping smoking
  • eating fewer fatty foods
  • avoiding spicy or acidic foods.

Mild, irregular heartburn can likewise be treated with medications like antacids. Nevertheless, a doctor needs to examine you if you take antacids more than numerous times a week. Your heartburn might be a symptom of a more severe issue like acid reflux of GERD.

What Is Acid Reflux?

A circular muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) lies in between your esophagus and stomach. This muscle supervises of closing your esophagus after food passes to the stomach. If this muscle is weak or doesn’t close correctly, the acid from your stomach can move backward into your esophagus. This is called acid reflux.

The lining of your esophagus is more fragile than the lining of your stomach. For that reason, acid in your esophagus causes a burning sensation in your chest. This sensation is referred to as heartburn.

What Is GERD?

GERD is the chronic kind of acid reflux. It’s detected when acid reflux takes place more than twice a week or causes swelling in the esophagus. Pain from GERD may not be alleviated with antacids or other over the counter medication.

Symptoms of GERD include:

  • heartburn
  • seeming like stomach contents have returned as much as the throat or mouth (regurgitation)
  • chest pain
  • dry cough
  • asthma
  • difficulty swallowing.

Symptoms of GERD might interrupt your life. Fortunately, they can generally be managed with treatment. Alternatives include both medications and lifestyle changes like:

Medications for GERD normally try to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. They might not be effective for all patients. Some individuals require surgery to help enhance the LES.

Consequences of GERD

Acid from the stomach can harm the lining of the esophagus if GERD is left neglected. This can cause:

  • bleeding
  • ulcers
  • scarring.

The acid can likewise cause a change in the cells in the esophagus gradually. This is called Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus increases your risk of esophageal cancer. Nevertheless, esophageal cancer is exceptionally uncommon, even in people with Barrett’s.

When Does Heartburn Require Medical Care?

Not all heartburn needs healthcare. Irregular and mild heartburn can be treated with antacids and lifestyle changes like avoiding spicy foods. Periodic reflux is not a cause for issue. You ought to speak with a doctor if you have heartburn two or more times a week or if over the counter medications don’t relieve your discomfort.

Symptoms of heartburn are typically mistaken for heart attack, however the two conditions are unassociated. If your heartburn discomfort and chest pain changes or becomes worse and is accompanied by problem breathing or pain in your arm or jaw, call 911 instantly These symptoms can be signs of a cardiovascular disease.


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