When the burn becomes unbearable

Some heartburn can be caused by structural or biochemical abnormalities, but other individuals with heartburn have no such abnormalities — those individuals may have what is called functional heartburn. In addition to the burning pain in chest and throat, other symptoms include belching, regurgitation and bloating. HeartburnPeople with functional heartburn typically do not respond to medications used to treat GERD.

Advances in the field, such as esophageal pH-impedance testing, now allow for better diagnosis and characterization for patients presenting with heartburn. These advanced have highlighted the inadequacy of one-size-fits-all treatments such as modifying diets and trial PPI therapy.  Seventy-five percent of patients with functional heartburn also have esophageal hypersensitivity, which means they experience the symptoms more strongly than most people — making the symptoms even more frequent and painful.

Studies have also shown a link between stress and functional heartburn. Continue reading

GERD and the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, it can be difficult to follow a healthy diet and maintain a regular exercise routine. For some individuals, with the holidays come painful symptoms of heartburn and discomfort after indulging in all those delicious meals. Because of this, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) has designated the week of Thanksgiving as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) Awareness Week. Holiday_Heartburn_blog_words

What is GERD?

GERD is a chronic, often treatable disease, with symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation of acid. Other symptoms may include dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), chest pain, chronic cough, chronic hoarseness, dental problems, and/or experiencing a bitter taste in the mouth. Patients with GERD may respond well to medications like Nexium and Prilosec that reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Diet and lifestyle modifications are also effective in managing GERD. Continue reading