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Chronic heartburn is more than a painful mealtime nuisance; left untreated, it can cause serious health issues. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)—typically referred to as heartburn or acid reflux—is caused when the valve between the esophagus and stomach malfunctions, allowing acid and stomach contents to back up into the esophagus and cause burning and regurgitation.

Common symptoms of GERD may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Regurgitation
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Bad breath
  • Belching
  • Chronic cough
  • Gagging
  • Difficulty sleeping

Left untreated, GERD can lead to serious health problems such as esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus lining), narrowing of the esophagus (stricture), ulcers, difficulty swallowing, bleeding of the esophagus, pneumonia and esophageal cancer.

The heartburn treatment program at Bryan Hospital works with patients to create an individualized treatment plan that may include: patient education, lifestyle modifications to reduce symptoms and medical and/or surgical options. Our experienced and extensively trained nurses are, above all, patient advocates who provide care in a coordinated fashion that makes it convenient, easy and supportive for the patients and their families.

There are a few ways you may choose to begin evaluation for GERD.