How Are Acid Reflux and GERD Different?


Often, people hear the terms “GERD” and “acid reflux” and don't know if they are the same. Often, they seem to produce the same primary symptom — indigestion (commonly referred to as heartburn). There is more to it than just heartburn, however. What are the differences between the two?

The GI providers at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC, are available to help you figure out the basics of the different gastro conditions so you can better understand your gastrointestinal and general health. Our Hattiesburg, MS digestive health specialists want you to feel knowledgeable enough about your treatment options to make sound decisions that will benefit you for years to come.

What brings about acid reflux?

After swallowing, your food or drink passes from your esophagus into your stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). There are times when the LES will fail to close fully and lets the acid that has developed go back up into the esophagus. This acid reflux causes the common feeling of “heartburn” many people live with.

There are several reasons the lower esophageal sphincter can’t close all the way. This is usually due to losing strength in an individual’s LES. Some explanations for this include:

  • Eating a lot of spicy foods
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol
  • A diet full of fat
  • Certain medications
  • Obesity

Acid reflux vs. GERD

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

Our Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC, gastroenterologists are here to help you better understand these symptoms and determine if you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or something else. It could take a bit of trial and error to discover the right treatment method that helps alleviate your acid reflux symptoms. However, our team is available to help you throughout this journey.

How can GERD be treated?

When you are seeking out GERD treatment in Hattiesburg, MS, there are a variety of treatment methods you may want to try out. Initially, we will take a look at your current medications and your health history to establish if we should adjust your medications. Some other standard solutions we could suggest include:

  • Eat more slowly
  • Reduce how much caffeine you drink
  • Sit up following each meal
  • Don’t eat three hours before going to bed
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Make adjustments to your diet, including eating high-fiber foods and avoiding foods that include citrus, high-fat, or spices
  • Sleep at an incline

If you don’t find relief after trying one or more of these methods, we have more options you may try. Such options may include prescription-strength antacids or, often as a last resort, a surgical procedure.

Find relief from GERD and acid reflux symptoms in Hattiesburg, MS

The team of gastroenterologists at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC, is able to diagnose and treat several GI illnesses, including moderate-to-severe acid reflux. If you’re suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or are searching for an effective method for treating your acid reflux, you have several options. To learn more about how our board-certified gastroenterologists can assist you when finding relief from your acid reflux, reach out to one of our locations in Hattiesburg, MS today.

Find Your Nearest Location