Q: Can heartburn cause GERD?
A: No. Heartburn cannot cause GERD. Heartburn itself is not a condition,
but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. GERD, which stands for
gastroesophageal reflux disease, is one of the most commonly diagnosed
conditions among heartburn sufferers. GERD is a chronic digestive disease
in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus (food pipe), and over
time can damage the lining of the esophagus. If left untreated, GERD can
lead to complications such as narrowing of the esophagus, esophageal ulcers
and Barrett’s esophagus (a pre-cancerous condition).
Fortunately, there are different treatment options available for GERD,
including lifestyle changes, over-the-counter and prescription medications,
and surgery for severe cases. If you experience heartburn regularly, you
should let your doctor know.
If you need a referral to a St. Joseph Hospital gastroenterologist, call
the Heartburn Center referral line at (844) 633-GERD (4363).
James J. Lee, MD
St. Joseph Hospital, Orange