Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition in which the patient experiences the presence of stomach acids flowing up into the esophagus. This condition can produce symptoms of burning, chest pain, nausea, and sour taste in mouth. Untreated GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which can increase the risk of Esophageal Cancer. This can be diagnosed by an upper endoscopy.
Hiatal hernia occurs when a weakness develops in your diaphragm which is the muscle that separates your abdominal organs (including stomach) from your chest organs (including esophagus). Normally, the stomach sits below the diaphragm and the esophagus above. In the presence of hiatal hernia, the stomach slips/slides up through the weakened area in the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This can produce pain, discomfort, bloating, belching, reflux, and heartburn. Hiatal hernia and related symptoms can be worsened by excessive weight, pregnancy, wearing tight fitting clothing, coughing, straining, vomiting, or sudden physical exertion which causes increased pressure in the abdomen.