Acid reflux is an extremely common condition that affects thousands of Americans each year. MainStreet Family Care is here to educate you on the symptoms, complications, treatments, and more. 

What Is Acid Reflux? 

Gastrointestinal reflux (GER) is the medical term for acid reflux. The condition is caused by a malfunction or weakness of the esophageal sphincter, the muscle that connects the esophagus and stomach and allows food entry into the stomach. 

This results in stomach content traveling up the esophagus, which does not have a protective coating against stomach acids like the stomach does. This sensation often burns, and this is why acid reflux is often referred to as heartburn. 

At MainStreet Family Care, we treat acid reflux often through our primary care services

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Symptoms Of Heartburn

It is likely that you or a loved one have experienced heartburn due to its commonality. There are several key heartburn symptoms, including:

  • Upper abdominal chest pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Backwash of liquid or food
  • Difficulty swallowing

Dietary And Lifestyle Factors

You may notice heartburn after eating certain foods or if you are facing other medical conditions. 

Dietary Factors

Foods and drinks that can induce or make acid reflux symptoms worse include: 

  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Juice (orange, pineapple, apple, etc.) 
  • Onions and garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Tomatoes
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Fatty foods

Although it may be difficult to eliminate all of these foods and drinks from your diet, it is best practice to reduce the amount that you consume them. You can try seeking out alternatives to these foods that have a lower acid or fat content. 

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors or medical conditions that can attribute to heartburn include: 

  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Medications
  • Smoking or use of tobacco products 

If you are pregnant, generally, your acid reflux will subside as soon as you give birth. Consult with your provider about treatment options. 

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Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

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Reducing Heartburn

There are several ways to reduce the frequency of heartburn that you experience. Some of these methods include: 

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise frequently 
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products
  • Change your eating habits
  • Eat smaller meals, and avoid large meals

It may also benefit you to document any meals that you have acid reflux after, as it can help you avoid them in the future. 

What Are The Treatment Options? 

Due to its commonality, treating acid reflux is fairly simple. These treatments include: 

  • Changing your diet and lifestyle
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Antacids
  • H2 Blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) 

Complications Of Acid Reflux

Untreated acid reflux can lead to complications that can affect your quality of life. 


Esophagitis simply means that stomach acid has irritated the lining of the esophagus, causing swelling. This may make it difficult to swallow or talk. 

Esophageal Ulcers

Frequent acid reflux may cause you to develop ulcers in the esophagus. These ulcers may cause difficulty swallowing and other side effects such as nausea. 


A stricture is a scar on the lining of the esophagus caused by stomach acid. It leads to the narrowing of the esophagus over time and may make eating or drinking painful. 

Barrett’s Esophagus 

Barrett’s esophagus is characterized by damage to the esophagus, causing a precancerous change in cells. 

How Is It Diagnosed? 

Since side effects of heartburn are extremely common, this condition is easily self-diagnosed. However, if you are having frequent heartburn, you may want to see a medical provider to ensure you are not suffering from GERD. 

What Is GERD? 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition characterized by frequent acid reflux.  The most common symptom of GERD is having heartburn two or more times a week and sometimes after each meal. GERD is common; however, less common than simple acid reflux. Although it is often found in women, many men also suffer from the condition. 

How Is GERD Diagnosed? 

To get an official diagnosis of GERD, you should seek out a gastroenterologist, who are specialists in the esophagus and digestive system. There are several ways that a gastroenterologist may use for diagnosing GERD. These methods include: 

  • Upper endoscopy
  • X-rays of the digestive system
  • Transnasal esophagoscopy 
  • Esophageal manometry 
  • Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test

How Is GERD Treated? 

You should treat GERD similarly to symptoms of heartburn. However, severe cases of GERD may require a Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF).

The TIF procedure involves a gastroenterologist inserting a flexible tube (endoscope) into your mouth and using a TIF device to repair or re-form the esophageal sphincter. This reduces the symptoms of GERD. Since the procedure does not involve any incisions, it allows  a less painful and faster recovery. 

Complications of GERD 

If left untreated, long-term GERD can lead to other medical conditions that are extremely uncomfortable. These conditions include: 

  • Barrett’s Esophagus 
  • Esophagitis
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Strictures
  • Esophageal cancer 

If you believe you have GERD, you should consult with your primary care provider about seeing a specialist. 

Sign Up Now! 

Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

Register New Patient Portal Account

If you already have a portal account, simply log in.

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

Are you struggling with symptoms of acid reflux or GERD? MainStreet Family Care can help! With our primary care services, you can get same-day or next-day appointments. To get started, create an account in the patient portal and schedule your first appointment.