Fatty foods, alcohol, and overeating are hallmarks of holiday feasts. Overindulging can be a recipe for heartburn and acid reflux, especially for those living with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.
“GERD is a really common condition,” explains Dr. Jon Gould of the Medical College of Wisconsin. "One out of 10 American adults suffers from symptoms. The most common symptom is heartburn — typically a burning sensation behind the breast bone brought on by eating spicy foods for a lot of folks.”
However, there is an important distinction between occasional heartburn and the disease, which Gould says can have a major impact on your quality of life.
"GERD really does become an all-consuming issue for people. Lost work productivity, lots of medical care that's needed, so it really does escalate and spiral once it gets out of control," he explains.
There are many acid suppression medications available over the counter, so self-medication is possible to keep symptoms under control. If symptoms are bad enough, a doctor can perform an upper endoscopy to check for damage in the esophagus and come up with a treatment plan.
Gould joins Lake Effect's Joy Powers to discuss GERD and how to keep it in check: