University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Health and Wellness

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Heartburn or GERD?

An estimated 60 million Americans have heartburn symptoms at least once a month. Anyone experiencing heartburn more than twice a week could have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when a muscle in the esophagus does not close properly, allowing stomach contents to leak back into the esophagus and cause irritation. Prolonged exposure can cause permanent damage, but most cases are treatable with lifestyle changes and medication.


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