Norman Regional Health System

Understanding Acid Reflux

Whether you call it heartburn, acid reflux or GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease can spell misery for millions of adults in the United States. GERD is:

  • Caused by a mechanical defect. GERD is caused by a weak muscle in the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES allows acid and bile to splash up from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing injury to the lining of the esophagus and symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and cough.
  • Epidemic. 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. suffers from GERD.
  • Serious. GERD can lead to serious complications like stricture, Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer. Adenocarcinoma, a type of esophageal cancer, increased more than 600 percent between 1973 and 2006.
  • Debilitating. GERD can cause daily pain, lead to poor sleep, affect food tolerance and limit daily activities.
  • Costly. The cost of GERD to U.S. employers has been estimated at $75 billion per year.

GERD Assessment Test

  • Do you frequently have one or more of the following:
    - An uncomfortable feeling behind the breastbone that seems to be moving upward from the stomach?
    - A burning sensation in the back of your throat?
    - A bitter acid taste in your mouth?
  • Do you often experience these problems after meals?
  • Do you experience heartburn or acid indigestion two or more times per week?
  • Do you find that antacids only provide temporary relief from your symptoms?
  • Are you taking prescription medication to treat heartburn but still having symptoms?
  • If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, you may have GERD. Please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our reflux experts by calling 405-329-4102.