Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is also known as gastric reflux or acid reflux disease. This chronic condition is caused by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It can occur when the small ring of muscle, called the esophageal sphincter, has weakened and doesn’t properly close to prevent acids from coming up from the stomach.

Some common symptoms of GERD include:

  • Persistent heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Acid reflux

Depending on the severity of your GERD, certain diet changes and over-the-counter medications, like antacids, may be used to help alleviate the symptoms. If symptoms persist, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed. Surgical options also exist for more severe cases.

There are certain lifestyle changes that can help reduce the symptoms of GERD. Avoid certain foods and drinks that may trigger heartburn like fried foods, tomato sauce, garlic, onion and caffeine. Also eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than three larger meals will help to avoid heartburn. Maintaining a healthy weight is another way to help reduce the pressure on your stomach, as well as wearing properly fitting clothes that aren’t too tight around your waist.