GERD/Heartburn Specialist

Houston Regional Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Sugar Land, TX & Humble, TX

Acid reflux, or heartburn, can strike after a particularly rich meal, but up to 20% of Americans have a more severe form of the condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Also called acid reflux, GERD causes uncomfortable symptoms and, sometimes, complications that seriously interfere with your quality of life. Houston Regional Gastroenterology, with locations in Sugar Land and Humble, Texas, evaluates your condition and offers solutions so you can find relief from GERD and/or heartburn. Call today or book an appointment online.

GERD/Heartburn Q & A

What causes heartburn?

When stomach acid comes out of your stomach and up into your esophagus, acid reflux or heartburn results. When the pressure inside your stomach increases, it can force acid into the esophagus. The acid causes symptoms and creates the discomfort of heartburn.

Certain food and beverages affect stomach pressure as does wearing tight pants, overeating, or being overweight. Smoking, a hiatal hernia, and pregnancy can also contribute to the condition. Heartburn is occasional, not chronic. 

What distinguishes heartburn from GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a chronic form of heartburn. If you experience heartburn two or more times per week and over-the-counter medications are unable to control your heartburn, it’s likely that you have GERD.

GERD requires expert care to manage symptoms and improve your comfort. Plus, the expertise of Houston Regional Gastroenterology can reduce your chances of developing complications such as narrowing of the esophagus, esophageal ulcers, and Barrett’s esophagus.

What are the symptoms of GERD and/or heartburn?

GERD can cause pain and burning in your chest. You may also have:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • A dry cough
  • A sore throat
  • The feeling that there’s a lump in your throat

You may find that lying down following a meal or going to bed shortly after you eat exacerbates your heartburn and GERD symptoms.

How is GERD treated?

Mild cases of GERD respond to lifestyle changes and medications. Simple steps, such as eating at least three hours before bed and elevating your head in bed, can help.

If over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes aren’t effective, prescription proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers may help you find relief. Your Houston Regional Gastroenterology doctor may also recommend higher-level antacids. You may need to adjust your diet to avoid food and beverages that tend to trigger your reflux symptoms, too.

If the doctors suspect GERD has caused damage to your esophagus, they may recommend an endoscopy for evaluation and to determine further treatment. 

If your GERD persists despite conservative therapies, you may be a candidate for surgical solutions. Several safe and effective procedures can strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter, whose weakness can contribute to GERD.

To get relief from the pain and discomfort of GERD and/or heartburn, call a location of Houston Regional Gastroenterology or schedule an appointment online.