Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD, typically occurs when there is a problem with the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach. Heartburn is the single most common symptom. However, symptoms may also include chest pain, difficulty or painful swallowing, sensation of food stuck in the throat, and acid indigestion. In addition, it is possible for a person with the condition to have one or several of these symptoms but not have heartburn.
Treatment will typically start with changing what and how you eat. For example, you may want to avoid certain foods that make your acid reflux worse. You might also want to avoid eating anything close to bedtime. Other changes, such as stopping the use of tobacco products or losing weight, may also help. If lifestyle changes are not enough, medication (and in some cases, surgery) may be necessary.
(Click GERD for information on the causes of this condition and how it is diagnosed.)