Gastroesophageal reflux disease — is more than just chronic heartburn.
Although heartburn is the most common symptom of this disease, GERD is a
condition in which stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes)
into your food pipe (esophagus). The constant backwash or acid reflux can
irritate the lining of your esophagus and cause inflammation. Such irritation
can lead to complications such as narrowing of the esophagus, ulcers and even a
slightly increased risk of esophageal cancer. Most people can manage the
discomfort of heartburn with lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter
medications. But if you have GERD, these remedies may offer only temporary or
partial relief. If you have GERD, you may need newer, more potent medications,
possibly even surgery, to reduce symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of GERD
include: Heartburn — burning sensation in your chest, sometimes spreading to
the throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth, Chest pain, especially at
night while lying down, Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), Coughing, wheezing,
asthma, hoarseness or sore throat, Regurgitation of food or sour liquid.