What is it?
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It is basically a condition in which acid normally contained within the special lining of the stomach leaks out into the esophagus, which is above the stomach. The esophagus does not have the same lining and so it can be damaged by this acid and causes the well worn term 'heart burn'.
How do I know if I have it?
It is unfortunately very common in all ages and people frequently get symptoms after meals and when they are lying down. You may get a burning sensation in the chest and neck, an acid taste in your mouth, a dry cough especially after meals, and possibly cough up small particles of food.
How can I get tested for it?
The definitive testing is done by a Gastroenterologist by putting a flexible camera down into your stomach and maybe also checking the pH balance in your esophagus to see if it is acidic. But it is also frequently diagnosed by symptoms and improvement after a trial of medication instead of early and invasive testing.
How can I be treated for it?
There are several well known and highly advertised prescription and over the counter medications available. But lifestyle choices like, eating a smaller dinner, sitting upright for 2-3 hours after all meals, and avoiding certain foods except in smaller quantities, are a better and healthier long term approach to this condition.