What Are the Differences Between Acid Reflux vs. GERD?


Many people hear the terms “GERD” and “acid reflux” and think they are the same. Generally, GERD and acid reflux can seem to cause the same primary symptom — a burning pain in the chest or "heartburn." There is a little more to it than simply heartburn, though. What, exactly, are the differences between these conditions?

The GI providers at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates want to help you determine the differences between these digestive conditions so you can focus on your gastrointestinal and overall health. Our New Orleans, LA digestive health specialists wish for you to be knowledgeable about any ailments you may have so you can make decisions that are right for you.

What brings about acid reflux?

When swallowing, your food and drink will migrate from your esophagus to your stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Sometimes, however, the lower esophageal sphincter fails to close entirely, allowing the acid formed during this step to move back into the esophagus. This acid reflux causes the heartburn feeling many individuals experience.

There could be several reasons the lower esophageal sphincter won’t close completely. This is generally the result of weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter. Some reasons for this include:

  • Alcohol
  • Certain medications
  • A diet that includes spicy foods
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Obesity
  • High-fat or low-fiber diets
  • Caffeine use

GERD vs. acid reflux

If you experience heartburn a few times (or more) a week or if acid reflux medications don’t reduce your acid reflux, you may have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Our Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates providers will help you understand your symptoms and decide if you are dealing with GERD or a different GI condition. It could take some experimentation to discover a treatment method that helps alleviate your acid reflux symptoms. However, our team of providers is ready to help you.

How will my GERD be treated?

When you require treatment for GERD in New Orleans, LA, we could try several treatments. First, we will look medications you’re currently taking and your general health to determine if we can adjust any medications. Some other solutions we might recommend are:

  • Remain upright following each meal
  • Don’t eat three hours prior to going to sleep
  • Eat more slowly
  • Make lifestyle and diet adjustments, such as exercising and eating foods high in fiber and avoiding foods that include citrus, high fat, or spice
  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Sleep at an incline
  • Lose weight if necessary

If you don’t find relief after attempting these methods, there are more treatment options you may want to consider. Some of your choices may include prescribed antacids or, often as a last result, surgery.

Get relief from GERD and acid reflux symptoms in New Orleans, LA

The GI specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates are skilled in diagnosing and treating many GI illnesses, such as acid reflux. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or are looking for an effective way to manage your acid reflux, several options are available. For more information on how our team of GI doctors can assist you when finding relief from your chronic heartburn, contact one of our locations in New Orleans, LA at your earliest convenience.

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