What Is GERD Reflux – Relieving Heartburn

Q: Hi, I am 17 and a female. I just went to the hospital today. I have GERD. So in a easier explanation what is it?


GERD is a short form of Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s popularly described as heartburn. It is a situation in which some part of the stomach content back flows to enter the esophagus.

Since the stomach contents are acidic, they irritate the mucosal lining of the esophagus to give symptoms.

Why Does GERD Occur?

Food travels through the esophagus (food pipe) and enters the stomach. The opening at the stomach is guarded by a sphincter (door). This is a muscular structure and is supposed to be very tight when close, not permitting any back flow.

Sometimes this sphincter does not close properly. So, the stomach contents may flow back into the esophagus. This is gerd. Contents of the stomach are acidic. Acid is produced from stomach walls to break down food molecules and help in digestion. This acidic food leads to symptoms of GERD.

You may experience a burning sensation in the throat or chest area. As understandable, it is more on lying down.

Why Does the Sphincter Not Close Properly?

  • Any nerve problem – nerves supplying the sphincter are damaged.
  • Obesity – Leading to fat deposition around the opening.
  • Some problem with the muscles comprising the sphincter.


Antacids are given for symptomatic relief.

Self-help Steps to Avoid GERD

  1. Avoid alcohol and spicy, fatty or acidic foods. They aggravate the symptoms.
  2. Prepone your dinner at least 2 hours before bed time. Eating too close to bedtime is likely to give more symptoms.
  3. Lose weight if required.
  4. Stay upright for at least an hour after meals.
  5. Staying active physically can be helpful.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “What Is GERD Reflux – Relieving Heartburn

  1. GR

    I have been diagnosed with GERD, anxiety and depression, and lactose intolerance for decades. I am Asian, 5? 1 1/2?, and 96 – 100 lbs. I mysteriously lost 10 pounds in two months 5 years ago and cannot gain it back. Multiple endoscopies and colonoscopies indicate esophageal irritation and two rarer polyps that were removed. I fast walk 3 to 5 days weekly. Symptoms are sourness in mouth and on tongue even after brushing, heat in esophagus and stomach, intestinal gas, episodic sting of acid on tongue and in mouth, several episodes of fecal breath, sore throat, chronic post-nasal drip, possible feeling of something in throat, etc. I have tried many medications, and despair of getting relief. With questionable relief of symptoms, I currently take Nexium before breakfast and dinner, and Ranitidine at bedtime. Gastroenterologist is recommending Bravo PH Monitor AMB, esophageal motility study AMB, and esphagogastroduodenoscopy with biopsy AMB in preparation for surgery to fold up the sphincter to my stomach. Is this the recommended next step?

    What lifestyle or dietary interventions might help? Manuka honey, oregano capsules, chamomile tea, whole grains, multiple smaller meals, minimization of acid intake, veggies and fruits, elevating head of bed, loose clothes, lying on left side, etc…What is research-based? Gastroenterologist states only elevating head off bed and How do I check possible drug interactions?

    I’d appreciate any professional guidance. I appreciate greatly your generous and humanitarian services.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Your medication are alright. Surgery would not solve all your problems. You may wait for some more time before going for it.

      It is advisable to supplement your medical treatment by dietary and lifestyle management as much as possible.

      Steps that may help alleviating your symptoms:
      Reduce weight, this would make your sphincteric muscles better.
      Elevate the head end of your bed.
      Limit on all stimulants, like spices in your food. Abstain completely from alcohol, limit on tea and coffee.
      Instead, replace your beverages with fruit juices or plain water.
      Let your diet be plentiful in fibers. Add both soluble and insoluble fibers in all meals you have.
      Wear loose clothes.
      Lastly, try some meditation process. This would help regulating your nerves better.

  2. mackie

    I’m 26 years old. I don’t have cold, but every time I was laying down, my phlegm goes up to my nose. So I have to blow out it through my nose or spit it out from my mouth and when I’m brushing my teeth there’s so many phlegm coming out from my throat. I don’t know where it is coming from. I’m choking out the food I’ve been eaten. It seems that the phlegm they are staying in my right throat and I can also feel that I have a stuck meat in my throat. I always burping and recently I feel that my heart beats faster than my normal beats. I don’t know what’s happening in my throat. Am I sick? Please help me.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      There has to be a reason for phlegm. You may be having some slow growing infection like chronic sinusitis. Such infections commonly go undiagnosed. You need to go to an ENT doctor for a check up and get the possibility of any such infection ruled out.

      Also, it is recommended that you keep your weight in check. If you are obese, try loosing weight.

  3. meera

    I am 18 years old female, I have a gas problem where the heat reaches my head and sometimes I faint, usually happens during periods. I had a lot of pressure of studies past month,my sleeping and eating schedule was totally upset. After few days I ate junk food and after 2 days I felt the same gas problem that freaks me out, my stomach got upset, later my heart used to beat really fast, I used to feel that disturbing sensation many times, I felt I will never recover , I visited a doctor and she said it is because of eating something spicy which is true, I felt gas problems, dehydration and upset stomach, one day I ate lot of fruits (apple, pomegranate, banana) along with lemon and water..after few hours I felt like there is something in my throat, which is tightining and burning sensations, I feel depressed and upset, I am at home all day, I fear going out a because of my health ..what is my problem?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Just regularize your diet. Eat a balanced diet. Less of spices. More of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adequate amount of water. Avoid junk food and aerated drinks. Have your meals on time. Eat smaller quantities of food.

      For the time being, you may take any over the counter anta acid, like digene.

  4. Rahul Rao

    Hi Doc, I’m 29, male. I’m having problem with my phlegm all the time. I smoke but a maximum of 5 -6 a day and I work in night shifts at a call center. To control my work stress I smoke at my breaks. After I finish my smoke or while smoking I feel like the phlegm is very thick and broken from the saliva chain and stuck in the throat. I spit it out and see that it comes out as translucent, brownish or grayish colored molds. I fear if I might have a cancer. This started from past few months and I’m smoking past 5 years. Could you please help me rectifying my issue and suggest some health tips.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You need to quit smoking immediately. Smoking is directly a cause of your phlegm and also the cause of deadly malignancies.

      Do you have cough? Have you ever seen blood in your sputum? Any weight loss in recent past?

  5. Rahul Rao

    I don’t have cough. Sometimes observed blood in sputum. But I haven’t lost weight, may be I gained a couple of kilos in my recent times. I get lot of headache and chest pain sometimes. Sometimes have heavy breathing problem.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Looks like you have irritated your wide pipes from inside. They are likely to be red and swollen. In such situations, they may ooze out tinges of blood and give you heavy breathing.

      You need to be examined by an ENT for exact diagnosis.


Ask Your Medical Question

Your Question will be answered by a specialist M.D. in 1-2 days.

To prevent unauthorized comments, we request you to solve a simple problem: *